Sex-specific effects of human chemosignal on perception of angry but not fearful faces

Yuting Ye, Yu Nan, Ran Wei, Yin Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Androsta-4,16,-dien-3-one (androstadienone), a steroids implicated as a human social chemosignal, has been reported to impact one's emotional perception along the valence axis. The current study takes a step further to examine whether it modulates the perception of angry and fearful faces, two negative emotions that are similar with respect to valence and arousal, but signal different social values. Systematic comparisons of psychophysical data collected from 40 heterosexual men and 45 heterosexual women revealed that androstadienone subconsciously biased heterosexual men toward perceiving the male faces as less angry, while it biased the heterosexual women toward perceiving the female faces as angrier. Meanwhile, androstadienone did not affect the perception of fearful faces in either men or women. These findings indicate that the modulation of androstadienone on negative emotional perceptions is not uniform, suggesting that it alters the perception of specific rather than general negative emotions. In particular, it impacts one's perception of anger, which signals impending aggression, and hence could further impact an individual's social interaction in a sex-specific manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106055
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Androstadienone
  • Angry
  • Emotional perception
  • Fearful
  • Sex-specific

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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