Testosterone treatment, affect, and appearance: Slight effects in normal subjects

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James M. Dabbs, Jr.
Kelly Cate
Angela Brower
Cheryl Emery
Pontus Leander
Meredith Zachary
Cite this article:  Dabbs, Jr., J., Cate, K., Brower, A., Emery, C., Leander, P., & Zachary, M. (2003). Testosterone treatment, affect, and appearance: Slight effects in normal subjects. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 31(4), 387-394.


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In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled experiment, 64 women and 26 men applied testosterone and placebo skin creams during two five- to seven-day periods. Subjects provided serum samples for testosterone assay, completed a daily affect measure, wrote projective stories, recorded random samples of everyday speech, provided a guess as to which week they had received testosterone, and were videotaped in a standard setting. The treatment more than doubled subjects' mean serum testosterone level. Testosterone reduced positive affect in both sexes and led to more attractive dress among women but not among men. There was virtually no effect on story-writing, speech, or videotaped behavior, and subjects could not accurately guess which week they had received testosterone.

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