Psychopathic Traits and Endocrine Function as Predictors of Costly and Non-Costly Reactive Aggression
Geniole, Shawn N.
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I investigated factors of psychopathy (fearless dominance, self-centered impulsivity) and hormones (testosterone, cortisol, estradiol) in predicting costly and non-costly reactive aggression. I hypothesized that whereas self-centred impulsivity (SCI) would promote costly aggression, fearless dominance (FD) would promote non-costly aggression. Costly aggression was measured using the Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm and noncostly aggression was measured using one-shot dictator games. In women (n = 97; M age = 19.86 years), greater SCI and lower baseline estradiol predicted greater costly aggression; also, greater FD predicted greater non-costly aggression, particularly among women with lower SCI. In men (n = 104; M age = 20.15 years), psychopathy and endocrine function did not predict costly aggression; however, greater FD and greater increases in testosterone were associated with greater non-costly aggression. Thus, there are sex-specific links between psychopathic personality traits, hormones, and aggressive behaviour, and psychopathic traits and endocrine function predict aggressive behaviour independently of each other.