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Last psych test before I complete my major!


the period of highest sexual receptivity (or "heat") in some female mammals that coincides with the time of egg release by the ovary

females' attractiveness to males

increases during estrous

females' sexual preferences during estrous

males with putative fitness indicators (e.g. normal T male > castrated male)

hormone that regulates effects during estrous



immature eggs in ovarian follicles

rate of small follicle development

~1000/month (beginning prenatally)


follicle stimulating hormone

follicles die in absence of

FSH and LH signals

number of small follicles at birth

~1 million

number of small follicles at puberty

~.5 million

number of small follicles at menopause


if developing follicles receive FSH and LH signals

they develop further into a "dominant follicle"

support cells around "dominant follicle"

increase and produce estrogen

dominant follicle

follicle that is selected to mature and ovulate in the next cycle

estrogen primes

LH surge that triggers ovulation

birth control pills block

FSH or LH surge

blocking FSH

follicles die instead of developing

blocking LH surge

prevents ovulation

process of releasing FSH, LH

hypothalamus releases GnRH → pituitary (LH, FSH)

estrogen casuses development of

uterine lining in preparation for possible implantation of zygote

follicle after ovulation

turns into corpus luteum

corpus luteum

endocrine tissue which produces hormones, estrogen, and progesterone which prepares the uterine lining for receiving an embryo

phases of cycle

1. follicular phase
2. luteal phase
3. "fertile window"

follicular phase

extends from the beginning of menstration (day 1) until ovulation (day 14)

luteal phase

extends from day 15 (just after ovulation) to day 28 (onset of menstration); conception not possible during this phase

"fertile window"

days when conception is possible: day of ovulation and up to 5 days before

sexual receptivity in human females

not confined only to fertile window; physically possible to copulate any time

some evidence that female libido influenced by

cycle phase

reasons that the correlation between female libido and cycle phase is hard to study

1. using sexual thoughts as DV assumes that output of mechanism is actual thought

2. studying sexual activity is problematic because males and females initiate sexual contact and it confounds with female attractiveness and male interest

there is decent evidence that libido near ovulation is


Wallen (2001)

more sex initiated during "fertile window"

Roberts et al. (2004)

took photos of SAME women during late follicular phase (~day 12) and in luteal phase (~day 22)

raters chose which photo of pair was more attractive

Roberts et al. (2004) results

depending on masking conditions (obscure hairstyles or not) and rater sex, follicular chosen as more attractive ~54-58% of the time (significantly greater than chance)

Miller et al. (2007)

asked strippers to record their periods and also their tipi earnings from lap dances over a 60 day span

18 women, 7 on pill and 11 not on pill

responded on website, w/ 16.4 entries on average (out of 60 requested)

Miller et al. (2007) results

women not on pill showed spike in earnings mid-cycle

cue that drives Miller et al. (2007) stripper results

uncertain (could be odor cues, shifts in behavioral patterns, subtle morphological changes [body shape, face attractiveness])

there is evidence that women's odors near ovulation are judged as

more pleasant/sexy

there is evidence that women's attracitvenss near ovulation

inceases, but the effects are smaller than in many non-human species (more subtle "estrous" in humans)

female preference if in the fertile window

focus on potential indicators of genetic quality more so than at other times within cycle

female preference if not in the fertile window

focus more strongly on direct benefits

mixed strategy of female mate preference

choose feminine, high investing men as long-term partners; cheat with masculine, high testosterone men when fertile to get good genes

selection for extra-pair copulations

because women obtain benefits only when fertile, but could pay the cost throughout the cycle, selection may have shaped female interest in men who possess indicator traits of good genes such that it changes across the cycle

if androgens indicate genetic quality

then the whole suite of traits affected by T may be preferred within the fertile window

greater testosterone

lower FA, facial masculinity/symmetry, muscularity, behavioral displays, odors, deeper voice pitch

Gangestad & Thornhill (1998)

tested effects of cycle phase on preferences for odors of symmetrical men

men wear clean T-shirt to bed for 2 nights whille attempting to stay odor-neutral

women raters sniff shirts on morning after second night and rate for pleasantness, sexiness, and intensity

women's "conception risk" estimated

Gangestad & Thornhill (1998) results

women near fertile window show preferences for odors of more symmetrical men (low FA)

sensory modality singled out by women as that which most affects their sexual responsivity and mate choice


higher correlation in Gangestad & Thornhill (1998) odor study

greater preference for symmetry

voice pitch generally found more attractive in men by women

low pitch

preference for artificially lowered voice pitches becomes greater when

women are tested near ovulation (Feinberg et al, 2006)

Gangestad et al. (2004)

videotaped men being "interviewed" by an attractive woman for a possible lunch date; a male competitor was interviewed at the same time and his responses visible on a video monitor

women watched 1-min. clips of these men and rated them for both long and short-term attractiveness

men with low body FA in Gangestad et al. (2004)

used more direct and competitive strategies: asserted superiority, derogated competitor, etc. 9vs. asserting he was nice guy, etc.) and had greater "social presence" (less nervous, direct eye contact, etc.)

Gangestad et al. (2004) results

preference for masculine behavioral displays increased right before ovulation

evidence for EPC argument

very strong

if women are seeking good genes near ovulation

they may present themselves more attractively near ovulation

Haselton et al. (2007)

women brought into lab twice: once within fertile window (high fertility) and once in luteal phase (low fertility)

from view photographs taken

judges rated in which of two photos woman was trying to "look more attractive"

Haselton et al. (2007) results

judges chose high fertility photo 59% of the time

evidence exists for cycle phase effects on

1. sexual receptivity
2. attractiveneess
3. self-presentation
4. preferences for testosterone-dependent traits in men

homologies with estrous-cycle effects in nonhuman species are difficult to explain via

traditional socialization-based accounts of human psychology

alternative explanation to EPC model

there are none; it is an inference to the best explanation

" is difficult to understand the nature of these preferences otherwise." - Gangestad (2000)

Within-Cycle (EPC) Position

shifts in mate preferences are designed to change behavior WITHIN a given cycle

point is to pursue mixed mating strategy

Between-Cycle Position

evolved mechanisms are designed to produce shifts in mating psychology BETWEEN different cycles

holds that female mate preferences designed to shift over long periods of time

according to within-cycle position, brain mechanisms read hormonal signals to answer the question

Am I currently within the fertile window?

according to between-cycle position, brain mechanisms read hormonal signals to answer the question

Am I currently in a fertile cycle?

mating mechanisms in less fertile cycles

lower libido/preference for fitness indicators

mating mechanisms in more fertile cycles

higher libido/preference for fitness indicators

low estrogen/progesterone

lactation, food shortage, high energy expenditure, illness/stress

high estrogen/progesterone

no lactation, sufficient food, moderate energy flux, healthy/low stress

it makes functional sense to think about men's genetic quality

across the cycle (NOT just during fertile window) during high fertility cycles

between-cycle logic

turn on mating psychology during times of likely fertility

why no keep mating psychology turned on all the time?

there are other adaptive problems to address

attraction to stimuli has

motivation functions that affect behavior

example of motivational functions of stimuli

motivation to pursue food and eat when hungry and food is attractive

EPC position predicts

tight coupling to fertile window

Between-cycle predicts

high estrogen times > low estrogen even outside fertile window

*preference curves should mimic estrogen curves

more fertile cycles have

more follicular estradiol

follicular E predicts

luteal E

Roney & Simmons (2008) Paper

tests hypothesis that preference curves should mimic estrogen curves using faces as dependent measure

limitations of past faces studies

artificial faces, no T measures, no evidence regarding the physiological mechanisms that may regulate cycle phase shifts in women perceivers

Roney & Simmons (2008) hypothesis

estradiol concentrations will predict preferences for higher testosterone faces

Roney & Simmons (2008) method

39 heterosexual men from UCSB (18-24 yrs.)

digital photos at a standard distance with a neutral expression

saliva samples collected to assay testosterone

Roney & Simmons (2008) ratings of face photographs

75 women from UCSB, none on hormonal contraceptives, statistics on cycle recorded

viewed photos in random order on PC at self-paced rated, rated photos for physical attractiveness

Roney & Simmons (2008) results

women show stronger preferences for masculine/high T traits in men during high vs. low estrogen times in the cycle

testosterone preference in women

increases with estradiol levels (r = 0.52, p = 0.002)

within vs. between-cycles debate

not clear whether it is one, the other, or combination of the two


hormones (FSH and LH) that stimulate the development of ovaries and testes

leydig cells

cell that produces testosterone and other androgens and is located between the seminiferous tubules of the testes

male sex hormone process

hypothalamus releases GnRH → anterior pituitary (LH, FSH) → testes → testosterone

organizational (developmental) effects of testosterone/androgens

produce relatively irreversible effects on body and brain (e.g. sex-differentiation of genitalia) and possible early effects on brain organization

activational effects of testosterone/androgens

more temporary and reversible effects (e.g. many secondary sex traits in nonhuman species that atrophy when T is withdrawn like antlers during nonbreeding season)

organizational effect in schematic model of specialized mechanisms

affects the "developmental program" (early sex hormone exposure)

activational effects in schematic model of specialized mechanisms

affects the "cognitive program" through T input

Case-study (Diamond, 1997) demonstrates

organizational effects of early androgen exposure despite minimal activational exposure to androgens and gender role socialization intended to produce opposite effects

Case-study (Diamond, 1997)

"John" reassigned to be female at 8 months, still displayed male behavior and rebelled at living as a girl at age 14

5-α Reductase Deficiency

deficiency in enzyme that converts T to dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

androgen required in high levels for masculinization of genitals

5αRD effects on body

genitals appear female at birth, but produce large amounts of T at puberty, which overcomes deficiency and genitals masculinize along with development of typical secondary sex traits

5αRD in Dominican Republic (Imperato-McGinley et al., 1979)

socialized (strongly) as females, but most quickly switched to male identity and sexual preferences

5αRD in Dominican Republic (Imperato-McGinley et al., 1979) findings

provides evidence that socialization alone does not explain gender identity and that T acts in wiring up brain mechanisms (without needing to be converted to DHT)

general theory of testosterone

testosterone promotes physiological and behavioral processes related to mating effort and directs energy away from competing processes related to survival effort

hormone analogy

hormones are like a radio broadcast to the entire body, received by any cells that tune to the right frequency

hormones can reach

any calls that express receptors for them

muscle cells express

T receptors

skeletal muscle mass increases under

T exposure

Bhasin et al. (2001) T manipulation study

gave 61 men a drug that blocked GnRH production (eliminating natural T) and assigned them to T injections at does between 25 mg and 600 mg

Bhasin et al. (2001) T manipulation results

gains in fat-free mass and leg strength occurred with higher doses

testosterone promotes

fat catabolism as source of energy


breakdown of more complex substances into simpler ones with release of energy

Luteinizing hormone

(LH) a gonadotropic hormone that is secreted by the anterior pituitary

Yesilova et al. (2000) study

studied young men with hypogonadism and measured various antibody counts before and after treatment with synthetic LH

Yesilova et al. (2000) results

testosterone increased and antibody counts dropped 20%-40% after treatment

testosterone suppression of immune responses

modulated by energy availability (males with large energy budgets can afford both higher T and larger immune responses)

example of T suppression modulation

T injections reduce immune responses to a pathogen in male zebra finches, but leptin injections reverse the suppressive effects

behavioral effects of T in paternatlly investing birds

1. reduce offspring provisioning
2. increase aggressiveness toward other males and attempts at territory expansion
3. increase pursuit of extra-pair females

correlational evidence for effects of T in humans

1. greater status-seeking
2. greater dominance
3. greater aggressiveness (small effect)
4. greater sensation-seeking
5. greater risk-taking (financial measures)
6. greater extraversion

hockey players with greater penalty minutes

have higher T

general effects of T

directs energy for muscle mass, decreases immune response/fat breakdown, increased behavioral aggressiveness/competitiveness

Muehlebein et al. (2005) malaria quasi-experiment

8 male, 9 female Honduran villagers infected with malaria compared to healthy matched controls, assessed T during diagnosis and treatment

Muehlebein et al. (2005) results

T increased after treatment

T levels in seasonally breeding species

drops to castrate levels in non-breeding season (not want to pay costs of higher T if there are no current mating benefits

circumstances when mate-seeking is less important in humans

1. no females are around
2. male already has a partner/in a relationship
3. male has kids, paternal investment more important

Anonymous (1970) beard study

researcher isolated himself on a remote island and recorded his beard growth (androgen-dependent) during periods of isolation, and also when he visited girlfriend on mainland or she visited island, weighed beard shavings each day

Anonymous (1970) results

beard shavings decreased in isolation

Grey et al. (2002)

collected saliva samples from Boston-area men to measure T (29 unmarried, 14 married w/o children, 15 married w/ children), hypothesized lower testosterone in married men and fathers, to avoid costs of T and promote paternal care

Grey et al. (2002) results

lower T in married, even lower T w/ children (not necessarily causal though)

immune challenges, food shortages, stress

lowers T

mate-seeking/female presence

raises T

courtship responses

how many nonhuman males respond to females or cues from females

cognitive program for vertebrate courtship

cues from females → activation of limbic-hypothalamic structures (GnRH, LH, T) → courtship behaviors (immediate), T increase (post 15-20 min)

immediate result of activation of limbic-hypothalamic structures

courtship behaviors

t increase in activation of limbic-hypothalamic structures happens

post 15-20 minutes

limbic-hypothatlamic transducing pathway

chemosensory → VNO → AOB → amygdala → medial preoptic area (mPOA) → limbic-hypothalamic structures → V/I/T structure feedback

lesions to medial preoptic area (mPOA)

abolish copulation, reduce courtship, eliminate T response

sex steroids (T, E) regulate

signaling properties of neurons within structures of the transducing pathway

Visual/Auditory/Tactile transducing structures

amygdala, mPOA, hypothalamus

Oomura et al. (1988)

electrodes placed in mPOA of male macacques recording cell activity

Oomura et al. (1988) results

firing increases when shutter opened to reveal female and fires rapidly as male approaches female; decrease during intromission but then increases again just before next bout of intromission; firing stops after ejaculation; firing increases again as refractory period ends (~10 min.), when male will again press lever to access female

T injection into mPOA after castration

can restore courtship behaviors to normal levels

castration effects

same as lesions to medial preoptic area (mPOA)

T production decreased by

stress/illness, seasonal cues, subordinate status, presence of offspring

exposure to erotic or sexually explicit films causes

increased LH or T levels in men within 10-20 minutes

Roney et al. (2003)

male subjects randomly assigned to a 5-minute conversation with a male or female confederate, saliva samples were taken before and 15 minutes after interaction, confederates rated the subjects' behavior during the interaction

Roney et al. (2003) results

significant increase in T when paired with female confederate, increase in display behaviors (reported by confederate)

Roney et al. (2003) changes in T by courtship-like behaviors

higher T change, more courtship-like behaviors (female condition), no correlation for male condition

limitations of Roney et al. (2003) study

small sample size, University of Chicago students are "unusual" (little exposure to scantily clad, attractive women; introverted, neurotic, chain-smoking, nerdish, female-deprived, quasi-autistic, etc.)

Roney, Lukaszewski, & Simmons (2007)

same design as 2003 experiment, but done at UCSB

Roney, Lukaszewski, & Simmons (2007) results

T increased relative to baseline; in response to men, no change observed

T correlated with experimenter-rated measures of extraversion and self-disclosure in female condition, but not male condition

effect of cortisol on T

can inhibit its production

baseline cortisol elevated during

food shortage, illness, social stress (conditions in which courtship may be maladaptive)

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