Study: Men More Prone to Taking Action
Researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Technical University of Dresden have found that men are more prone to taking action than their female counterparts due to less dopamine in the male brain in a new study.
“The neurotransmitter dopamine has repeatedly been associated with increased cognitive flexibility in the past,” says Dr. Erhan Genç from the Bochum Department of Biopsychology.
“This is not fundamentally bad but is often accompanied by increased distractibility.”
The research group investigated the genotype of 278 men and women and they were particularly interested in what is known as the tyrosine hydroxylase gene (TH gene).
Previous studies have revealed gender-specific differences between the expression of the TH gene and behaviour.
“The relationship is not yet understood fully, but the female sex hormone oestrogen seems to play a role,” explains Erhan Genç.
Oestrogen indirectly influences dopamine production in the brain and increases the number of certain neurons that respond to signals from the dopamine system.
“Women may therefore be more susceptible to genetic differences in dopamine levels due to oestrogen, which, in turn, is reflected in behaviour,” says the biopsychologist.
In future studies, the research team intends to investigate to what extent oestrogen levels actually influence the relationship between the TH gene and action control.
“This would require taking a closer look at the menstrual cycle and the associated fluctuations in the participants’ oestrogen levels,” explains Caroline Schlüter.
In addition to dopamine, the TH gene also influences norepinephrine, another important neurotransmitter from the catecholamine family.
The researchers aim to examine the role that these two neurotransmitters play in action control in further studies.