Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hilarious Journal Articles #55: Testosterone and the Home Team Advantage

From "Salivary Testosterone and Cortisol Responses to Athletic Competition: Rule of Game Outcome, Athletic Setting and the Home Advantage:"
In humans, hormonal responses to athletic competition have often been
studied within the context of a single athletic contest and/or a
weekend tournament. Furthermore, the majority of studies have
primarily focused on individual sports. The present study investigated
the relationship between hormonal responses to competition and game
outcome (win/loss) throughout an athletic season among elite hockey
players. Furthermore, the current study examined the concept of the
‘home advantage’ and possible differences in pre-competition hormone
levels and psychological states depending on game location. Game
outcome was a significant moderator of the testosterone response to
competition (F (1, 12) = 9.91, p = .008). Consistent with Mazur’s
(1985) biosocial model of status, winning a status contest led to
significantly higher increases in pre- to post-game testosterone. In
addition, pre-game testosterone levels were significantly higher for
games played in the team’s home venue, which extends the findings of
Neave et al (2003) and suggests a human territoriality phenomenon.
Furthermore, salivary cortisol levels were also higher when the team
performed in their home venue, which may be the result of increased
social pressure associated with competing in front of friends and
family. Pre-game psychological measures also varied depending on game
location. Self-confidence ratings were significantly higher for home
games while somatic and cognitive anxiety ratings were higher for away
games. Therefore, in contrast to previous reports examining the
hormonal response to competition with team sports (Gonzalez-Bono et al,
1999), testosterone changes were directly related to the outcome of the
game. It may be that measuring a team’s hormonal responses to
competition throughout the athletic season may be a better indicator of
the testosterone/social status relationship.
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