Testosterone facilitates the sense of agency

van der Westhuizen, Donné; Moore, James W.; Solms, Mark and van Honk, Jack. 2017. Testosterone facilitates the sense of agency. Consciousness and Cognition, 56, pp. 58-67. ISSN 1053-8100 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Sense of agency (SoA) refers to feelings of being in control of one's actions. Evidence suggests that SoA might contribute towards higher-order feelings of personal control - a key attribute of powerful individuals. Whether testosterone, a steroid hormone linked to power in dominance hierarchies, also influences the SoA is not yet established. In a repeated-measures design, 26 females participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to test the effects of 0.5 mg testosterone on SoA, using an implicit measure based upon perceived shifts in time between a voluntary action and its outcome. Illusions of control, as operationalized by optimism in affective forecasting, were also assessed. Testosterone increased action binding but there was no significant effect on tone binding. Affective forecasting was found to be significantly more positive on testosterone. SoA and optimistic expectations are basic manifestations of power which may contribute to feelings of infallibility often associated with dominance and testosterone.

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Sense of agency, Testosterone, Hormones, Mood, Power, Embodied cognition

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4 October 2017Accepted
21 October 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

06 Dec 2018 11:32

Last Modified:

21 Oct 2020 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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