The effect of mental rotation on changes in plasma testosterone and cortisol levels
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Testosterone level has an influence on cognitive functions, especially spatial abilities. The relationship is, however, bidirectional and brain activity also affects testosterone levels. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of an intensive 3D mental rotation task on testosterone levels in young healthy men and women. In the mental rotation task, men reached a higher top score (P=0.027) and total score (P=0.004) compared to women. In 8 out of 9 women (P=0.008) but not in men (P=0.129) testosterone levels decreased after one hour of mental rotation testing. A significant gender difference was shown (P<0.0001). In all women, plasma cortisol levels was significantly lower after testing (P=0.004). In men cortisol levels decreased in 7 out of 9 subjects (P=0.039). A significant gender difference was not found (P=0.19). No association was found in women between baseline testosterone levels and mental rotation total score (P=0.810). In men there was a positive correlation between baseline testosterone and mental rotation total score (P=0.015). A significant difference gender difference was seen in the association between testosterone and mental rotation score (P<0.05). Mental rotation stimuli caused significant changes in hormonal levels of testosterone and cortisol. A gender-specific response was detected in testosterone fluctuation.
KeywordsMental rotation Testosterone Cortisol Hormonal changes Plasma
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