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Emotion recognition and regulation in males: Role of sex and stress steroids

Ilkevič, Erik; Hausmann, Markus; Grikšienė, Ramunė

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Erik Ilkevič

Ramunė Grikšienė


Understanding emotions in males is crucial given their higher susceptibility to substance use, interpersonal violence, and suicide compared to females. Steroid hormones are assumed to be critical biological factors that affect and modulate emotion-related behaviors, together with psychological and social factors. This review explores whether males‘ abilities to recognize emotions of others and regulate their own emotions are associated with testosterone, cortisol, and their interaction. Higher levels of testosterone were associated with improved recognition and heightened sensitivity to threatening faces. In contrast, higher cortisol levels positively impacted emotion regulation ability. Indirect evidence from neuroimaging research suggested a link between higher testosterone levels and difficulties in cognitive emotion regulation. However, this notion must be investigated in future studies using different emotion regulation strategies and considering social status. The present review contributes to the understanding of how testosterone and cortisol affect psychological well-being and emotional behavior in males.


Ilkevič, E., Hausmann, M., & Grikšienė, R. (2024). Emotion recognition and regulation in males: Role of sex and stress steroids. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 74, Article 101145.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 7, 2024
Online Publication Date Jun 9, 2024
Publication Date Jun 9, 2024
Deposit Date Jun 11, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jun 11, 2024
Journal Frontiers in neuroendocrinology
Print ISSN 0091-3022
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 74
Article Number 101145
Keywords Emotion regulation, Cortisol, Males, Cognitive reappraisal, Approach-avoidance, Dual-hormone hypothesis, Testosterone, Emotions, Sex hormones, Emotion recognition
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