The putative chemosignal androstadienone makes women more generous

Valentina Perrotta, Michele Graffeo*, Nicolao Bonini, Jay A. Gottfried

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Putative human chemosignals have been shown to influence mood states and emotional processing, but the connection between these effects and higher order cognitive processing is not well established. This study utilized an economic game (Dictator Game) to test whether androstadienone (AND), an odorous compound derived from testosterone, impacts on altruistic behavior. We predicted that the female participants would act more generously in the AND condition, exhibiting a significant interaction effect between gender and AND on Dictator Game contributions. We also expected that the presence of AND should increase the positive mood of the female participants, compared with a control odor condition and also compared with the mood of the male participants. The results confirm our hypotheses: For women, the subliminal perception of AND led to larger monetary donations, compared with a control odor, and also increased positive mood. These effects were absent or significantly weaker in men. Our findings highlight the capacity of human putative chemosignals to influence emotions and higher cognitive processes-in particular, the processes used in the context of economic decisions-in a gender-specific way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Androstadienone
  • Dictator Game
  • Generosity
  • Mood
  • Olfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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