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This article is part of the Research Topic

Hormones and Economic Behavior

Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Behav. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00030

No Evidence for a Relationship Between Hair Testosterone Concentrations and 2D:4D ratio or Risk Taking

  • 1Experimental and Applied Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 2Department of Industrial Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
  • 3Department of Management & Organization, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 4Psychology, Northumbria University, United Kingdom

Using a recently developed alternative assay procedure to measure hormone levels from hair samples, we examined the relationships between testosterone, cortisol, 2D:4D ratio, overconfidence, and risk taking. A total of 162 (53 male) participants provided a 3 cm sample of hair, a scanned image of their right and left hands from which we determined 2D:4D ratios, and completed measures of overconfidence and behavioral risk taking. While our sample size for males was less than ideal, our results revealed no evidence for a relationship between hair testosterone concentrations, 2D:4D ratios, and risk taking. No relationships with overconfidence emerged. Partially consistent with the Dual Hormone Hypothesis, we did find evidence for the interacting effect of testosterone and cortisol on risk taking but only in men. Hair testosterone concentrations were positively related to risk taking when levels of hair cortisol concentrations were low, in men. Our results lend support to the suggestion that endogenous testosterone and 2D:4D ratio are unrelated and might then exert diverging activating versus organizing effects on behavior. Comparing our results to those reported in the existing literature we speculate that behavioral correlates of testosterone such as direct effects on risk taking may be more sensitive to state-based fluctuations than baseline levels of testosterone.

Keywords: Testosterone, cortisol, Risk taking behaviour, Dual Hormone Hypothesis, LC-MS/MS

Received: 11 Sep 2017; Accepted: 08 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Levent Neyse, Institut für Weltwirtschaft, Germany

Reviewed by:

Siegfried Dewitte, KU Leuven, Belgium
Roel Van Veldhuizen, Social Science Research Center Berlin, Germany  

Copyright: © 2018 Ronay, van Der meij, Oostrom and Pollet. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Richard Ronay, VU University Amsterdam, Experimental and Applied Psychology, Amsterdam, Netherlands, r.ronay@vu.nl