The Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm as a laboratory tool for investigating the neuroendocrinology of aggression and competition

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Abstract

A contribution to a special issue on Hormones and Human Competition.The ease of measuring steroids in saliva has led to an increase in investigating their role in competition and aggression in laboratory settings and using behavioral measures of aggression. We review here the Point-Subtraction-Aggression-Paradigm (PSAP) as a measure of costly aggression and we compare and contrast the PSAP to other aggression measures. We describe our use of the PSAP, highlighting how it can be modified to investigate a broad array of experimental questions. We review studies that have investigated neuroendocrine function and the PSAP, and we conclude that across studies the relationship between fluctuations in testosterone and PSAP aggression scores are directionally positive, and are likely specific to men. Investigations of other neuroendocrine measures and the PSAP are fewer, limiting conclusions that can be drawn for other hormones. We provide two versions of the PSAP that can be used with E-PRIME® software for researchers interested in this measure for their laboratories.

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