Intimate Relationships Then and Now: How Old Hormonal Processes are Influenced by Our Modern Psychology

Britney M. Wardecker, Leigh K. Smith, Robin S. Edelstein, Timothy J. Loving

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


In this review we argue that relatively recent evolutionary adaptations that are relational or psychological in nature might refocus, dampen, or otherwise shape hormonal processes related to evolutionarily “older” behaviors. We focus on the steroid hormones testosterone and estradiol and discuss a) their associations with “older relational processes” such as mate competition, dominance and nurturance, and b) the ways in which “newer relational processes” such as commitment and attachment relate to these hormones in the context of intimate relationships. We propose that these new relational processes might influence hormones in a manner that enables short-term mating relationships to be transformed into long-term romantic pair-bonds that may be unique to humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-176
Number of pages27
JournalAdaptive Human Behavior and Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2015


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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