Testosterone and How It Affects The Brain
Science & Tech / /
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group, found in humans and mammals. It is secreted by the testicles of males and less but not least the ovaries of females.
We are all familiar with this hormone, but not many of us know how it affects the brain. That is why some scientists decided to make a research and revealed very interesting information about testosterone’s affect on us.
It is known that if there is a fight on the street, it is likely that testosterone has something to do with it. This male sex hormone is famous for fuelling aggression and its tendency towards hostility that results in active resistance, opposition, or contentiousness. This is happening with a good reason which researchers have explained with details in the new study in the journal Psychoneuroendicinology.
According to this study, testosterone reduces connectivity in the brain which makes the person not to feel empathy towards others. In other words, it makes us less sensitive to the feelings of others.
The study was lead by researchers from Utrecht University. They had based their research on a previous study where women are outperforming men on tasks based on empathic capabilities. During these studies, the emotions of others had to be determined by looking at a picture with eye-region of a face.
This experiment is called RMET or Reading the Mind in Eyes Tests. For the testing, scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure the brain activity of people while performing RMET. While observing, they found out that 16 young women’s testosterone significantly altered the connectivity of the brain region - inferior frontal gurus (IFG), whenever they were asked to associate an emotion with an image.
After this, half of the participants had orally received testosterone to temporarily elevate their blood levels of the hormone and the other half received placebo. While repeating the RMET, those who orally took this hormone needed more time than before to recognize the emotions shown in the picture. And the ones who received placebo were indicating that the hormone had impaired their capacity for empathy.
Our findings thus reveal a neural mechanism by which testosterone can impair emotion-recognition ability, and may link to the symptomatology of ASC, in which the same neural network is implicated.
The researchers on this study had commented for the journal.
Their conclusion is that with developing new ways to regulate the effect of testosterone, there may be some treatments for certain autism-related symptoms. This is also great news for many people suffering from this