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Hormonal and modality specific effects on males' emotion recognition ability

By Adi Lausen, Christina Broering, Lars Penke, Annekathrin Schacht

Posted 05 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/791376 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104719)

Successful emotion recognition is a key component of our socio-emotional communication skills. However, little is known about the factors impacting males' accuracy in emotion recognition tasks. This pre-registered study examined potential candidates, focusing on the modality of stimulus presentation, emotion category, and individual hormone levels. We obtained accuracy and reaction time scores from 312 males who categorized voice, face and voice-face stimuli for nonverbal emotional content. Results showed that recognition accuracy was significantly higher in the audio-visual than in the auditory or visual modality. While no significant association was found for testosterone and cortisol alone, the effect of the interaction with recognition accuracy and reaction time was significant, but small. Our results establish that audio-visual congruent stimuli enhance recognition accuracy and provide novel empirical support by showing that the interaction of testosterone and cortisol modulate to some extent males' accuracy and response times in emotion recognition tasks.

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