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Department:Department of Psychology
Faculty:Arts & Social Sciences
Senior supervisor:Neil Watson
Thesis title:Endocrine Response to Social Rejection: The Effect of Testosterone and Cortisol on Pain Sensitivity
Given Names:Lindsay Blair
Abstract:An expanding body of literature suggests that common neural underpinnings governing physical and social pain are evolved adaptations that punish social disengagement by using pain as a signalling mechanism for social rejection. Such a mechanism is necessary in the face of fitness benefits afforded by group living from which a ubiquitous need to belong has grown. Salivary testosterone and cortisol were examined in the context of fluctuating pain sensitivity in response to a social evaluation with a confederate. It was expected that a greater evolutionary prescribed tendency to seek interpersonal support would result in physiological responses to rejection in females leading to reductions in pain sensitivity. While non-significance was found for cortisol, results implicate testosterone as an important factor in altering sensitivity after social interactions in men. This relationship between testosterone and pain may be a function of dominance and increased status seeking resulting from acceptance in a social interaction.
Keywords:Rejection; Need to Belong; Pain Sensitivity; Testosterone; Cortisol