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Collective hormonal profiles predict group performance

Akinola, M; Page-Gould, E; Mehta, PH; Lu, JG; (2016) Collective hormonal profiles predict group performance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 113 (35) pp. 9774-9779. 10.1073/pnas.1603443113. Green open access

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Abstract

Prior research has shown that an individual's hormonal profile can influence the individual's social standing within a group. We introduce a different construct-a collective hormonal profile-which describes a group's hormonal make-up. We test whether a group's collective hormonal profile is related to its performance. Analysis of 370 individuals randomly assigned to work in 74 groups of three to six individuals revealed that group-level concentrations of testosterone and cortisol interact to predict a group's standing across groups. Groups with a collective hormonal profile characterized by high testosterone and low cortisol exhibited the highest performance. These collective hormonal level results remained reliable when controlling for personality traits and group-level variability in hormones. These findings support the hypothesis that groups with a biological propensity toward status pursuit (high testosterone) coupled with reduced stress-axis activity (low cortisol) engage in profit-maximizing decision-making. The current work extends the dual-hormone hypothesis to the collective level and provides a neurobiological perspective on the factors that determine who rises to the top across, not just within, social hierarchies.

Type: Article
Title: Collective hormonal profiles predict group performance
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1603443113
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1603443113
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: testosterone, cortisol, groups, status, performance
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10040153
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