This chapter discusses hormones in relation to psychopathy. Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream and bind to receptors in the brain and body. When hormones bind to receptors in the brain, they can affect the functioning of brain regions. Hence, hormones can be thought of as an intermediate step between genetic or environmental factors and brain functioning. In addition, hormone systems are highly sensitive to environmental and psychological factors such as stress. The chapter specifically studies two primary hormones that have been associated with psychopathy—cortisol and testosterone. Cortisol and testosterone have been associated with several features that are observed in psychopathy, including blunted stress reactivity, fearlessness, aggression, and stimulation seeking.
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