Graduate Research

You can download my academic CV here.

I began attending the University of Michigan in the fall of 2001, and received my B.A. in Psychology in the spring of 2005. After graduation I worked as the lab manager of the Human Motivation and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of Michigan, under Dr. Oliver Schultheiss (now at Friedrich-Alexander University). In the Fall of 2006 I entered the Ph.D. program in Social and Personality Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, where I worked with Dr. Robert Josephs. I completed my degree in the summer of 2012.

Research Interests:
My graduate research focused on how individual differences in physiology manifest themselves in human social behavior. Specifically, I was interested in how steroid hormones, such as testosterone and cortisol, influence behavior in cooperative contexts and in response to threat (either social or physical). My research incorporated elements of traditional social psychology, personality psychology, social endocrinology, and behavioral neuroscience with an applied interest in health psychology. Much of this work was conducted with an informal motivational framework in mind, extending back to my undergraduate work on nonconscious motivation.

During my graduate career, I had two general lines of research.

The first line of research focused on how individual differences in personality interact with situational forces to influence intragroup cooperation. Specifically, how traits related to social dominance and desire for leadership interacted with social status and group goals to influence the efficacy of leadership structures within small groups. This work combined traditional social and personality psychology with social endocrinology methods.

The second line of research examined how individual differences in personality and physiology contributed to behavioral tendencies to ignore threatening information, with an interest in identifying mechanisms underlying these behavioral patterns. This work utilized social endocrinology and traditional personality and social psychology research methods to address issues of personality and health psychology.

Liening, S.H., Mehta, P.H., & Josephs, R.A. (2012). Competition. To appear in Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 2nd edition, edited Vilayanur S. Ramachandran. Academic Press: San Diego, CA. [pdf]

Ristvedt, S., Josephs, R.A., & Liening, S.H. (2012). Endogenous testosterone levels are associated with assessments of unfavourable health information. Psychology and Health, 27 (4), 507-514. [pdf]

Wirth, M.M., Stanton, S.J., Gaffey, A.E., & Liening, S.H. (2012). Letter in response to Ackerman et al., "Testotserone levels in healthy men are related to amygdala reactivity and memory performance." Psychoneuroendocrinology. [pdf]

Schultheiss, O.C., Patalakh, M., Rawolle, M., Liening, S.H., & MacInnes, J.J. (2011). Referential competence is associated with motivational congruence. Journal of Research in Personality, 45, 59-70. [pdf]

Stanton, S.J., Liening, S.H., & Schultheis, O.C. (2011). Testosterone is positively associated with risk-taking in the Iowa Gambling Task. Hormones and Behavior, 59, 252-256. [pdf]

Liening, S.H. & Josephs, R.A. (2010). It is not all about testosterone: Physiological moderators of the testosterone-behavior link. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4, 982-994. [pdf]

Liening, S.H.
, Stanton, S.J., Saini, E.K., & Schultheiss, O.C. (2010).
 Salivary testosterone, cortisol, and progesterone: Two-week stability, interhormonecorrelations, and effects of time of day, menstrual cycle, and oral contraceptive use on steroid hormone levels. Physiology and Behavior, 99, 8-16. [pdf]

Schultheiss, O.C., Liening, S.H., & Schad, D. (2008).
 The reliability of a Picture Story Exercise measure of implicit motives: Estimates of internal consistency, sum score, and ipsative retest stability. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 1560-1571. [pdf]

Unpublished Manuscripts:

Liening, S.H., Swann, W., & Josephs, R.A. (submitted for publication). Setting the stage versus doing the deed: Self-reported versus hormonal measures uniquely predict different forms of dominance..

Liening, S.H. & Josephs, R.A. (in preparation). Exogenous testosterone and physiological responses to a social judgment threat.

Liening, S.H.
, Ristvedt, S., & Josephs, R.A. (in preparation).
 Testosterone and threat perception: Testosterone, anxiety, and reactions to positive diagnoses among men.

Liening, S.H., Davis, T., Evans, J., Beevers, C., Loving, T.J., Thompson, I., Pollock, B., Wassersug, R., van Honk, E.J., & Josephs, R.A. (in preparation).The effects of androgens on cognition: A review of cognitive changes while undergoing androgen deprivation therapy.

Conference Presentations:
Liening, S.H.
& Josephs, R.A. (2012). Explicit versus implicit measures of dominance: Predictive utility of self-reported dominance versus testosterone depends on social context. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Deigo, CA. [pdf]

Liening, S.H.
, Ristvedt, S., & Josephs, R.A. (2011). Early detection behaviors among men: Testosterone, anxiety, and the dismissal of threatening medical information. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, TX.[pdf]

Liening, S.H.
 & Josephs, R.A. (2010).
 The influence of dominance, narcissism, and testosterone on high status behavior. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Las Vegas, NV. [pdf]

Liening, S.H.
 & Josephs, R.A. (2009).
 Abusing Power: Dominance and narcissism in positions of high status. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Tampa, FL. [pdf]

Talks and Guest Lectures:

Note: Some talks contain results that are not yet published, and thus their slides are not available online. If you would like a copy of the slides, please contact me via email at

Testosterone's differential effects on physiology and behavior. (2012)
Multilevel logistic regression with dyadic data. (2011)
Charles Bronson effect: The role of testosterone, anxiety, & genetic variation in early detection behaviors. (2010)
Social endocrinology. (2010)

Dominance and prosocial behavior. (
Implicit motive scoring: Winter integrated coding system. (2009, 2007)

Stress and aggression. (2009)
Testosterone, dominance, and aggression. (2008)
The missing link: The relationship between dominance, implicit power motivation, and testosterone. (2007)
The role of dominance in status seeking behavior. (2006)

Contact Information:
Scott Liening
New York, NY

*Site last updated on 4.27.2016