Hormones in speed-dating: The role of testosterone and cortisol in attraction

Leander van der Meij*, Andrew Demetriou, Marina Tulin, Ileana Mendez, Peter Dekker, Tila Pronk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

There is evidence that testosterone and cortisol levels are related to the attraction of a romantic partner; testosterone levels relate to a wide range of sexual behaviors and cortisol is a crucial component in the response to stress. To investigate this, we conducted a speed-dating study among heterosexual singles. We measured salivary testosterone and cortisol changes in men and women (n = 79) when they participated in a romantic condition (meeting opposite-sex others, i.e., potential romantic partners), as well as a control condition (meeting same-sex others, i.e., potential friends). Over the course of the romantic speed-dating event, results showed that women's but not men's testosterone levels increased and cortisol levels decreased for both men and women. These findings indicate that men's testosterone and cortisol levels were elevated in anticipation of the event, whereas for women, this appears to only be the case for cortisol. Concerning the relationship between attraction and hormonal change, four important findings can be distinguished. First, men were more popular when they arrived at the romantic speed-dating event with elevated cortisol levels. Second, in both men and women, a larger change in cortisol levels during romantic speed-dating was related to more selectivity. Third, testosterone alone was unrelated to any romantic speed-dating outcome (selectivity or popularity). However, fourth, women who arrived at the romantic speed-dating event with higher testosterone levels were more selective when their anticipatory cortisol response was low. Overall, our findings suggest that changes in the hormone cortisol may be stronger associated with the attraction of a romantic partner than testosterone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104555
Number of pages12
JournalHormones and Behavior
Volume116
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

Keywords

  • Testosterone
  • Cortisol
  • Speed-dating
  • Attraction
  • Popularity
  • Selectivity
  • Human mating
  • Social relation model
  • SEXUAL AROUSAL
  • NEUROENDOCRINE RESPONSES
  • SALIVARY TESTOSTERONE
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS
  • ENDOCRINE RESPONSES
  • STEROID-HORMONES
  • BASAL CORTISOL
  • MEN
  • MARRIAGE
  • DOMINANCE

Cite this

van der Meij, Leander ; Demetriou, Andrew ; Tulin, Marina ; Mendez, Ileana ; Dekker, Peter ; Pronk, Tila. / Hormones in speed-dating : The role of testosterone and cortisol in attraction. In: Hormones and Behavior. 2020 ; Vol. 116.
@article{342ab0ee8fe640dda5ce941f7eaaf8e4,
title = "Hormones in speed-dating: The role of testosterone and cortisol in attraction",
abstract = "There is evidence that testosterone and cortisol levels are related to the attraction of a romantic partner; testosterone levels relate to a wide range of sexual behaviors and cortisol is a crucial component in the response to stress. To investigate this, we conducted a speed-dating study among heterosexual singles. We measured salivary testosterone and cortisol changes in men and women (n = 79) when they participated in a romantic condition (meeting opposite-sex others, i.e., potential romantic partners), as well as a control condition (meeting same-sex others, i.e., potential friends). Over the course of the romantic speed-dating event, results showed that women's but not men's testosterone levels increased and cortisol levels decreased for both men and women. These findings indicate that men's testosterone and cortisol levels were elevated in anticipation of the event, whereas for women, this appears to only be the case for cortisol. Concerning the relationship between attraction and hormonal change, four important findings can be distinguished. First, men were more popular when they arrived at the romantic speed-dating event with elevated cortisol levels. Second, in both men and women, a larger change in cortisol levels during romantic speed-dating was related to more selectivity. Third, testosterone alone was unrelated to any romantic speed-dating outcome (selectivity or popularity). However, fourth, women who arrived at the romantic speed-dating event with higher testosterone levels were more selective when their anticipatory cortisol response was low. Overall, our findings suggest that changes in the hormone cortisol may be stronger associated with the attraction of a romantic partner than testosterone.",
keywords = "Testosterone, Cortisol, Speed-dating, Attraction, Popularity, Selectivity, Human mating, Social relation model, SEXUAL AROUSAL, NEUROENDOCRINE RESPONSES, SALIVARY TESTOSTERONE, PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS, ENDOCRINE RESPONSES, STEROID-HORMONES, BASAL CORTISOL, MEN, MARRIAGE, DOMINANCE",
author = "{van der Meij}, Leander and Andrew Demetriou and Marina Tulin and Ileana Mendez and Peter Dekker and Tila Pronk",
year = "2020",
doi = "10.1016/j.yhbeh.2019.07.003",
language = "English",
volume = "116",
journal = "Hormones and Behavior",
issn = "0018-506X",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",

}

Hormones in speed-dating : The role of testosterone and cortisol in attraction. / van der Meij, Leander; Demetriou, Andrew; Tulin, Marina; Mendez, Ileana; Dekker, Peter; Pronk, Tila.

In: Hormones and Behavior, Vol. 116, 104555, 2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Hormones in speed-dating

T2 - The role of testosterone and cortisol in attraction

AU - van der Meij, Leander

AU - Demetriou, Andrew

AU - Tulin, Marina

AU - Mendez, Ileana

AU - Dekker, Peter

AU - Pronk, Tila

PY - 2020

Y1 - 2020

N2 - There is evidence that testosterone and cortisol levels are related to the attraction of a romantic partner; testosterone levels relate to a wide range of sexual behaviors and cortisol is a crucial component in the response to stress. To investigate this, we conducted a speed-dating study among heterosexual singles. We measured salivary testosterone and cortisol changes in men and women (n = 79) when they participated in a romantic condition (meeting opposite-sex others, i.e., potential romantic partners), as well as a control condition (meeting same-sex others, i.e., potential friends). Over the course of the romantic speed-dating event, results showed that women's but not men's testosterone levels increased and cortisol levels decreased for both men and women. These findings indicate that men's testosterone and cortisol levels were elevated in anticipation of the event, whereas for women, this appears to only be the case for cortisol. Concerning the relationship between attraction and hormonal change, four important findings can be distinguished. First, men were more popular when they arrived at the romantic speed-dating event with elevated cortisol levels. Second, in both men and women, a larger change in cortisol levels during romantic speed-dating was related to more selectivity. Third, testosterone alone was unrelated to any romantic speed-dating outcome (selectivity or popularity). However, fourth, women who arrived at the romantic speed-dating event with higher testosterone levels were more selective when their anticipatory cortisol response was low. Overall, our findings suggest that changes in the hormone cortisol may be stronger associated with the attraction of a romantic partner than testosterone.

AB - There is evidence that testosterone and cortisol levels are related to the attraction of a romantic partner; testosterone levels relate to a wide range of sexual behaviors and cortisol is a crucial component in the response to stress. To investigate this, we conducted a speed-dating study among heterosexual singles. We measured salivary testosterone and cortisol changes in men and women (n = 79) when they participated in a romantic condition (meeting opposite-sex others, i.e., potential romantic partners), as well as a control condition (meeting same-sex others, i.e., potential friends). Over the course of the romantic speed-dating event, results showed that women's but not men's testosterone levels increased and cortisol levels decreased for both men and women. These findings indicate that men's testosterone and cortisol levels were elevated in anticipation of the event, whereas for women, this appears to only be the case for cortisol. Concerning the relationship between attraction and hormonal change, four important findings can be distinguished. First, men were more popular when they arrived at the romantic speed-dating event with elevated cortisol levels. Second, in both men and women, a larger change in cortisol levels during romantic speed-dating was related to more selectivity. Third, testosterone alone was unrelated to any romantic speed-dating outcome (selectivity or popularity). However, fourth, women who arrived at the romantic speed-dating event with higher testosterone levels were more selective when their anticipatory cortisol response was low. Overall, our findings suggest that changes in the hormone cortisol may be stronger associated with the attraction of a romantic partner than testosterone.

KW - Testosterone

KW - Cortisol

KW - Speed-dating

KW - Attraction

KW - Popularity

KW - Selectivity

KW - Human mating

KW - Social relation model

KW - SEXUAL AROUSAL

KW - NEUROENDOCRINE RESPONSES

KW - SALIVARY TESTOSTERONE

KW - PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS

KW - ENDOCRINE RESPONSES

KW - STEROID-HORMONES

KW - BASAL CORTISOL

KW - MEN

KW - MARRIAGE

KW - DOMINANCE

U2 - 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2019.07.003

DO - 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2019.07.003

M3 - Article

VL - 116

JO - Hormones and Behavior

JF - Hormones and Behavior

SN - 0018-506X

M1 - 104555

ER -