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.

"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 July 28, 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 July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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