Individual Differences in Antisocial Punishment in Public Goods Situations: The Interplay of Cortisol with Testosterone and Dominance
Article first published online: 29 NOV 2013
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making
Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 340–348, October 2014
How to Cite
2014), Individual Differences in Antisocial Punishment in Public Goods Situations: The Interplay of Cortisol with Testosterone and Dominance, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 27, 340–348. DOI: 10.1002/bdm.1811, and (
- Issue published online: 10 SEP 2014
- Article first published online: 29 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 5 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Received: 5 OCT 2012
- antisocial behavior;
- social dilemma;
This research investigates which endocrinological and psychological factors are associated with individuals' tendency to engage in destructive antisocial punishment, that is, to costly punish cooperative individuals in public goods situations. In this work, we focus on the interplay of endogenous cortisol with testosterone and dominance. We applied the dual-hormone hypothesis according to which testosterone is positively associated with destructive and dominant behavior but only in individuals with low levels of cortisol. Study 1 shows that individuals are more likely to engage in destructive antisocial punishment in a public goods game with the option to punish when their testosterone level is high, given that their level of cortisol is low, which bolsters the dual-hormone hypothesis. In contrast, no significant interaction effect of testosterone and cortisol emerges for the punishment of uncooperative free-riders (altruistic punishment). In a second study, we build on these findings and document that self-reported dominance is only positively associated with antisocial punishment (but not with altruistic punishment) when cortisol is low. In sum, the results indicate the importance of taking endocrinological and psychological factors (and their interactions) into account in order to reach a comprehensive understanding of individuals' behavior in social dilemma situations. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.