Power and professional status are often associated with myriad environmental factors including education and upbringing, but a new research study provides compelling fresh evidence linking professional status attainment with the interaction of two biological hormones.

“Testosterone, Cortisol and Attained Status” is co-authored by five leading academics in the field of bio-behavioral science, including Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Professor Jennifer Lerner. The lead author is Gary D. Sherman, who conducted the project while he was a postdoctoral fellow in Lerner’s lab at HKS, now a faculty member at SUNY Stony Brook; Robert A. Josephs, professor at the University of Texas, Austin; Jonathan Renshon, formerly a doctoral student in Lerner’s lab, now on faculty at University of Wisconsin, Madison; and James J. Gross, professor at Stanford University. The paper is forthcoming in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.