Testosterone, facial symmetry and cooperation in the Prisoners' Dilemma

Santiago Sanchez-Pages, E. Turiegano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recent research has analyzed how individual characteristics, like the exposure to different hormones and symmetry, affect decision-making and strategic behaviour. The present article investigates the effect of symmetry, of exposure to testosterone (T) in utero and during puberty and of current T on cooperation in a Prisoners' Dilemma Game (PDG). T is a hormone with well known effect on males' behaviour, and that promotes activities that seek to increase reproductive success. Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA) reflects the ability of the organism to maintain a stable development and it is usually employed as a variable reflecting genetic quality (low FA values are thought to signal higher genetic quality). Our results show that subjects with intermediate levels of second to fourth digit ratio (a proxy of exposure to Tin utero) and with high FA cooperate more often in the PDG. We also observe that the latter effect is due to the fact that FA has an impact on subjects' expectations about the behaviour of their counterpart in the game. These results reinforce the described link between markers related to genetic quality and cooperative behaviour. This possible linkage of individual condition and pro-social behaviour in humans clearly merits further attention. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-361
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology & Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Testosterone
  • Cooperation
  • Prisoners' dilemma
  • Fluctuating asymmetry
  • Facial masculinity
  • 2D
  • 4D


Dive into the research topics of 'Testosterone, facial symmetry and cooperation in the Prisoners' Dilemma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this