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Cortisol And Testosterone: Do They Affect Our Human Behavior

1141 words - 5 pages

The human stress response has been characterized, both physiologically and behaviorally, as "fight-or-flight." This fight-or-flight may characterize the primary physiological responses to stress for both males and females.
Social psychology is the study of people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are influenced by events around them either physically or mentally. Social psychologists explain human behavior as a result of mental state or immediate social situations. The psychologists determine the results and deal with the factors that lead to how the patient behaved. They look at everything that could cause the behavior to occur. For instance, social psychologist Amy Cuddy looks at two specific hormones that determine how the patient might react. The two hormones are called Cortisol and Testosterone. Cortisol, according to Encyclopedia.com, is “a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, that promotes the synthesis and storage of glucose and is therefore important in the normal response to stress...”(Encyclopedia.com) Testosterone is a steroid hormone that stimulates the body. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol plays an important role in blocking testosterone's influence on competition and success. When cortisol is released in response to threat, the body is mobilized to escape danger, rather than respond to any influence that testosterone is having on behavior. Studies provide new evidence that opposite hormones work against each other to regulate dominant and competitive behaviors. For social psychology, these two hormones are the most important when determining how people react in the work environment. To prove that the two hormones do react, Amy Cuddy put two groups of people in a nerving situation and told them to position themselves in two different poses. She had the first group stand or sit stretched out or try to be as big as possible, the most common pose made was the “wonderwoman”. For the second group, Amy Cuddy had them sit scrunched up and try to be as small as possible. After the experiment, Amy Cuddy and her team measured the amount of cortisol and testosterone in every patient. She concluded that the first group had higher levels of testosterone than cortisol and the other group was the opposite.
Another experiment was conducted by Professor Robert Josephs. In this experiment, researchers measured hormone levels in saliva samples from 57 subjects. The patients participated in a competition and were given the opportunity to compete again after winning or losing. Among those who lost, 100 percent of the subjects with high testosterone and low cortisol requested a rematch. However, 100 percent of participants with high testosterone and high cortisol refused to compete again. “All those who refused to play a rematch had a significant drop in testosterone after defeat, which may help to explain their unwillingness to compete again”, Josephs said. Josephs also claimed, “It makes good adaptive sense that testosterone's...

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