To test the relationship between androgen exposure, dopaminergic reward and sensation-seeking, we compared variation in salivary testosterone (T), 2D:4D digit ratio, facial masculinity, Zuckerman's sensation-seeking scale (SSS) and the D4 dopamine receptor (DRD4) genes from 98 young men, between the ages of 18 and 23 years. In univariate analyses, both salivary T and facial masculinity were significantly correlated with the SSS boredom susceptibility subscale, while the presence of the 7-repeat allele (7R+) in the dopamine receptor D4 gene was associated with the SSS thrill and adventure-seeking and overall sensation-seeking. Neither left nor right 2D:4D digit ratio was associated with any sensation-seeking scale. In multivariate models, salivary T and facial masculinity were significant predictors of SSS boredom susceptibility, while 7R+ was a significant predictor of SSS thrill and adventure-seeking. For overall SSS, both 7R+ and salivary T were significant predictors. There was no significant interaction of 7R+ and androgen exposure for SSS or any of the SSS subscales. These results add to earlier reports of an association between T and sensation-seeking. In addition, our results also indicate that genetic variation in DRD4 is independently associated with SSS sensation-seeking.
- Dopaminergic reward system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology