Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sensitive testosterone detector linked to less aggression

Date:
December 7, 2010
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
New research suggests a link between fetal testosterone and social behaviour, like aggression, in adults.

Questionnaire results and DNA samples volunteered by a group of University of Alberta students has broken new ground in the study of aggression. U of A Psychology researcher Peter Hurd was looking at the link between an individual's sensitivity to testosterone and aggressive behaviour.

Related Articles


"I looked at the gene that makes the body's testosterone detector to determine if variations in this detector's sensitivity to the chemical causes people to be more or less aggressive," said Hurd.

Hurd came across a previously published study in India that found violent criminals had genes that made receptors that were very sensitive to the presence of testosterone, so he decided to conduct a similar experiment with volunteers at the U of A.

"Using survey questions and DNA analysis, we came up with exactly the opposite finding from the study done in India," explained Hurd. "In our samples, less sensitive genes indicated more aggressive behaviour, perhaps because the bodies of those people wound up producing more testosterone to compensate."

Hurd said it can be likened to smoke detectors; a less sensitive device requires more smoke in a room than a very sensitive one. Hurd believes that testosterone levels and sensitivity are particularly important during fetal development, particularly since testosterone acts to influence fetal brain development indirectly, through a different receptor after it has been converted to a slightly different chemical. "More or less prenatal testosterone seems to have consequences throughout a person's entire lifetime."

Hurd says there seems to be a link between fetal testosterone and social behaviour, like aggression, in adults, and that the effects of the variation in sensitivity on the levels of fetal testosterone may explain the effect seen.

Hurd says the varying levels of testosterone sensitivity or exposure seen in the U of A volunteers is not related to extremely aggressive or criminal behaviour. "It's not as though these people were unable to physically control their emotions, it's much more subtle than that."

In fact, Hurd says the elevated aggression within this sample of students includes displays of aggression by one person against individuals through use of subtle, "gossip girl" styles of indirect aggression. "That kind of subtle aggression could involve getting back at a perceived enemy by talking to others about them behind their back."

The work of Hurd, Kathryn Vaillancourt and Natalie Dinsdale was published in the journal Behavior Genetics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Peter L. Hurd, Kathryn L. Vaillancourt, Natalie L. Dinsdale. Aggression, Digit Ratio and Variation in Androgen Receptor and Monoamine Oxidase A Genes in Men. Behavior Genetics, 2010; DOI: 10.1007/s10519-010-9404-7

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Sensitive testosterone detector linked to less aggression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207131731.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2010, December 7). Sensitive testosterone detector linked to less aggression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207131731.htm
University of Alberta. "Sensitive testosterone detector linked to less aggression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207131731.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins