In utero testosterone exposure influences physiological responses to dyadic interactions in neurotypical adults
Senese, Vincenzo Paolo
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Objective: We investigated how different levels of prenatal exposure to testosterone influence physiological reactions to dyadic interactions, hypothesising that higher levels of prenatal testosterone are linked to greater physiological responses. Method: Autonomic nervous system responses to dyadic interactions focussed on social or physical norms were measured. Physiological assessment of excitability (heart rate, facial temperature) and a behavioural assessment (Likert items judgements) were run on 25 neurotypical participants who had distinct testosterone exposure levels in utero. In utero exposure to testosterone was assessed measuring 2D : 4D (ratio between the lengths of the index and the ring fingers). Results: Higher testosterone exposure participants showed greater physiological arousal: a greater heart rate decrease, independent from scenario type (p <0.05), and opposite facial temperature changes in response to social (increase) (vs.) physical scenarios (decrease) were found (Left-cheek: p<0.05; Right-cheek: p< 0.05). Conclusion: These findings suggest a long-term influence of prenatal environment on adults’ physiological responses during social situations.
© 2016 Scandinavian College of Neuropsychopharmacology. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in Acta Neuropsychiatrica, published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Scandinavian College of Neuropsychopharmacology. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/neu.2016.15].