PSY230H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Trait Theory, Heritability, Serotonergic

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27 Oct 2016
School
Department
Course
Lecture 13: Physiology of Personality
Thursday, October 27, 2016
9:35 AM
Overview
o Hormones - testosterone
o Neurotransmitters - serotonin
Testosterone Levels as a Trait
o Testosterone is the male sex hormone
Women also have testosterone although levels are much lower
Has characteristics of a trait and is stable
o Rank-order stability
Both men + women differ in their typical levels of testosterone
Retest correlations are 0.50 over a period of 10 yrs
o Absolute stability
Absolute levels decrease w/ age after a peak at age 20
o Heritability
Testosterone levels are partially inherited
Heritability = 60%; Meilke et al 1987
o Testosterone and Marital Status:
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o Other evidence
Married men w/ children had lower testosterone level than married men w/out children
Testosterone levels of men in a committed rel were more similar to those of married men
than to those of unmarried men
o Causality?
(A) Trait Theory:
Testosterone level is a cause of stable marriage + divorce
Testosterone increases attractiveness
Attractiveness increases value of minimal investment strategy
(B) Mate Theory:
Getting married lowers testosterone levels
High testosterone levels increase the risk of infidelity
Providing resources for wife and offspring increases fitness
So which one A, B, both or neither?
BOTH!
Change from divorced to married
Finding supports mate theory
Evidence for trait theory
Married throughout study
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o Mazur & Michalek 1998
Married e / high testosteroe leels…
Were more likely to report hitting or throwing things at their wives
To leave home bc of trouble w/ their wives
To have extra-marital sex
To get a divorce
o General conclusion
Testosterone levels are correlated w/ marital status
High testosterone levels may be a risk factor for having a stable, faithful marriage
A stable, faithful marriage may be a "risk factor" for low testosterone levels
Future research needs to examine how testosterone levels influence actual behs in
marriages
Hormones
o An afterthought
Hormones primary function is to communicate between brain + peripheral organs
Concentrations of hormones in blood are unlikely to be strongly related to the brain
processes that regulate beh, feelings, and thought
Research on biological processes in brain are going to be more important for the
understanding of pers
Personality and the Brain
o Serotonergic system
Influences many diff brain areas that regulate diff functions (mood, sleep, eating, sexuality)
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