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Research Interests and Publications

Dr. Mehta's primary area of research examines the psychological and biological processes that influence the development and maintenance of status hierarchies in social groups: who rises to positions of leadership and power within their group, and how? What are the psychological and biological mechanisms that explain status-seeking behaviors (e.g., aggression, social dominance, leadership behavior, competitive behavior)? How is status related to stress and overall health? A second related line of research explores how people make decisions in social interactions. Topics include the combined roles of status and fairness in decision-making, the effects of emotion and stress on negotiation and bargaining, and the mechanisms of risky decision-making. To examine these questions, Dr. Mehta's research integrates methods and approaches from the psychological sciences (behavioral observation in dyads and groups, self and peer reports of affect, cognition, and behavior) with neuroendocrinology methods (hormone measurement and administration). His research program combines well-controlled laboratory studies with naturalistic field studies to investigate how social and biological processes play out in the "real world". A core focus of Dr. Mehta's research is understanding how hormone systems interact with one another, with the social context, and with the brain to regulate status-seeking behaviors and social decision-making.  For further information, please visit Dr. Mehta's website.

Dr. Mehta is no longer accepting graduate students.

Selected Publications:

Akinola, M., Page-Gould, E., Mehta, P.H., & Jackson, L. (in press). Collective hormonal profiles predict group performance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ponzi, D., Zilioli, S., Mehta, P.H., Maslov, A., & Watson, N.V. (in press). Social network centrality and hormones: The interaction of testosterone and cortisol. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 68, 6-13.

Radke, S., Volman, I., Mehta, P.H., van Son, V., Enter, D., Sanfey, A., Toni, I., de Bruijn, E.R.A., & Roloefs, K. (2015). Testosterone biases the amygdala towards social threat approach. Science Advances, 1, 1-6.

Mehta, P.H., Prasad, S. (2015). The dual-hormone hypothesis: A brief review and future research agenda. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences.

Welker, K.M., Gruber, J., Mehta, P.H. (2015). A positive affective neuroendocrinology (PANE) approach to reward and behavioral dysregulation. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 6, 1-13.

Mehta, P.H., van Son, V., Welker, K.M., Prasad, S., Sanfey, A.G., Smidts, A., & Roloefs, K. (2015). Exogenous testosterone in women enhances and inhibits competitive decision-making depending on victory-defeat experience and trait dominance. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 60, 224-236.

Mehta, P.H., Mor, S., Yap, A., Prasad, S. (2015). Dual-hormone changes are related to bargaining performance. Psychological Science, 26, 866-876.

Hamilton, L.D., Carré, J.M., Mehta, P.H., Olmstead, N., & Whitaker, J.D. (2015). Social neuroendocrinology of status: A review and future directions. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 1-29.

Mehta, P.H., Welker, K.M., Zilioli, S., & Carré, J.M. (2015). Testosterone and cortisol jointly modulate risk taking. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 56, 88-99.

Zilioli, S., Mehta, P.H., & Watson, N.V. (2014). Losing the battle but winning the war: Uncertain outcomes reverse the usual effect of winning on testosterone. Biological Psychology, 103, 54-62.

Mehta, P.H., Snyder, N.A., Knight, E.L., & Lassetter, B. (2014). Close versus decisive victory moderates the effect of testosterone change on competitive decisions and task enjoyment. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology.

Knight, E.L., Mehta, P.H. (2014). Hormones and hiearchies. In J. Cheng, J. Tracy, & C. Anderson, Psychology of Social Status. New York: Springer. 269-302.

Boksem, M.A.S., Mehta, P.H., Van den Bergh, B., van Son, V., Trautmann, S.T., Roelofs, K., Smidts, A., & Sanfey, A.G. (2013). Testosterone inhibits trust, but promotes reciprocity. Psychological Science, 24, 2306-2312.

Denson, T.F., Mehta, P.H., & Ho, T.D. (2013). Endogenous testosterone and cortisol jointly influence reactive aggression in women. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38, 416-424.

Mehta, P.H., Goetz, S.M., & Carre, J.M. (2013). The social neuroscience of human aggression: Genetic, hormonal, and neural underpinning. In D. Frank and J. Turner. Handbook of Neurosociology. New York: Springer.

Josephs, R.A., Mehta, P.H., & Carre, J.M. (2011). Gender and social environment modulate the effects of testosterone on social behavior: comment on Eisenegger et al. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15, 509-510.

Slatcher, R.B., Mehta, P.H., & Josephs, R.A. (2011). Testosterone and self-reported dominance interact to influence human mating behavior. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 22, 39-44.

Mehta, P. H., & Josephs, R. A. (2011). Social endocrinology: Hormones and social motivation. To appear in The Handbook of Social Motivation, edited by David Dunning. New York: Psychology Press.

Mehta, P. H., & Josephs, R. A. (2010). Testosterone and cortisol jointly regulate dominance: Evidence for a dual-hormone hypothesis. Hormones and Behavior, 58, 898-906.

Mehta, P. H., & Beer, J. S. (2010). Neural mechanisms of the testosterone-aggression relation: The role of orbitofrontal cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22, 2357-2368.

Mehta, P. H., Wuerrhman, E., & Josephs, R. A. (2009). When are low testosterone levels advantageous?: The moderating role of individual versus intergroup competition. Hormones and Behavior, 56, 158-162.

Mehta, P. H., Jones, A. C., & Josephs, R. A. (2008). The social endocrinology of dominance: Basal testosterone predicts cortisol changes and behavior following victory and defeat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 1078-1093.

Mehta, P. H., & Josephs, R. A. (2006). Testosterone change after losing predicts the decision to compete again. Hormones and Behavior, 50, 684-692.

Josephs, R. A., Sellers, J. G., Newman, M. L., & Mehta, P. H. (2006). The mismatch effect:  When testosterone and status are at odds. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 999-1013.