A growing body of evidence suggests that humans can communicate socially relevant information, such as aggression, dominance, and readiness for competition, through chemosensory signals. Androstadienone (androsta-4,16,-dien-3-one), a testosterone-derived compound found in men's axillary sweat, is a main candidate for a human pheromone that may convey such information. The current study aimed to investigate whether androstadienone serves as a chemosignaling threat cue to men, thus triggering avoidance behavior during competitive interaction with another man. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject study design, 30 healthy, normosmic, heterosexual male participants completed the social orientation paradigm (SOP), a monetary game played against a fictitious partner that allows 3 types of responses to be measured in the context of provocation: an aggressive response, an individualistic withdrawal response, and a cooperative response. Participants completed the SOP task twice, once under exposure to androstadienone and once under exposure to a control solution. The results indicate that androstadienone increased individualistic responses while it decreased cooperative responses. These findings support the role of androstadienone as a threatening signal of dominance that elicits behavioral avoidance and social withdrawal tendencies, possibly as a submissive response.
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- Social chemosignaling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Physiology (medical)
- Behavioral Neuroscience