Organizational hormone effects, body morphology, and the motivational brain

Internally funded project

Project Details

Project leader:
Dr. Martin Köllner

Project members:
Kevin Janson

Contributing FAU Organisations:
Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Psychologie (Motivation, Emotion und Lernen)

Start date: 02/02/2018

Research Fields

Behavioral endocrinology of implicit motives
Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Psychologie (Motivation, Emotion und Lernen)

Abstract (technical / expert description):

This project aims at pinpointing the effects of organizational hormone effects on the motivational brain during development via markers in body morphology. Covering markers of prenatal (e.g., 2D:4D digit ratio) and pubertal (e.g., facial width-to-height ratio) hormones that are specifically affected by organizing effects during specific developmental stages, the project infers the degree to which sex steroids like testosterone and estradiol also affect brain development during these stages. To this end, anthropometry, 2D-measurement of photos and scans, and in the future also fMRI-methods are or will be used. Regarding the motivational brain, specific emphasis is placed on implicit motives due to their ties to endocrine parameters later in life. The project has the following objectives: (1) Detecting associations between markers of organizational hormone effects and adult motivational parameters; (2) linking markers to behavioral, physiological, and endocrinological outcomes in adulthood (planned); (3) further establishing the validity of markers using available external databases which simultaneously include material amenable to morphometric analyses and behavioral outcomes; (4) improving measurement processes for markers via measurement guides and software; (5) using fMRI to detect structural features of the brain connected to markers and motivational parameters (planned).

Additional project members (undergraduate or B.Sc. researchers/non-FAU members):

Kira Bleck

Alexandra Rudnaya

Helena Schmiedl

Stefan Schmiedl

Annika Schwarm

Julia Waßer


Köllner, M., Janson, K., & Bleck, K. (2019). The social biopsychology of implicit motive development. In O. C. Schultheiss & P. H. Mehta (Eds.), Routledge International Handbook of Social Neuroendocrinology. (pp. 568-585). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Köllner, M., Janson, K., & Schultheiss, O. (2018). Commentary: Sexual dimorphism of facial width-to-height ratio in human skulls and faces: A meta-analytical approach. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 9.
Janson, K., Bleck, K., Fenkl, J., Riegl, L.T., Jägel, F., & Köllner, M. (2018). Inhibited power motivation is associated with the facial width-to-height ratio in females. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 4, 21-41.
Köllner, M., Schmiedl, H., Waßer, J., & Schmiedl, S. (2017). Face/Palm Measuring Tool: A stand-alone software for standardized hand and face morphometry [Software and manual].
Janson, K., Bleck, K., Fenkl, J., Riegl, L.T., Jägel, F., & Köllner, M. (2017). The implicit power motive and the facial width-to-height ratio as possible marker of organizational hormone effects during puberty. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 83S, 69.
Köllner, M., & Janson, K. (2017). The sociobiological development and arousal of implicit motives: The emergence of a growth-and-prune model of motive development and the continued linkage of hormones and motives throughout the life span. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 83S, 70.

Last updated on 2018-22-11 at 19:41