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Hormone effects on brain structure

neuronal survival, connectivity, number or distribution of hormone receptors, neurochemistry

Sex differences in MPOA

Males have more synapses on dendritic shafts and fewer on dendtritic spines, castration on day 1 reverses this. Females normally have opposite pattern. Testosterone treatment given to females before day 4 results in a male like pattern.

Sex differences in SDN-POA

Males have larger (more cells) one than females. Thought to be do to the estrogenic metabolites of testosterone. Testosterone treatment of females and castration of males lead to male and female SDN-POA patterns respectively.

Testicular feminization mutation

rodent equivalent of androgen insensitivity syndrome. males have female external genitalia; normal SDN-POA size.

Lesions to POA

disrupt normal mating

Sex differences in Medial Amygdala

Male medial amygdala is large than female one.

Sex differences in BNST

Male BNST larger than female one

Sex differences in AVPV

regulates ovulation. volume of nucleus greater in females. males castrated before day 10 have female-like volumes.

Sex differences in INAH in humans

INAH2 and INAH3 bigger in males. INAH1 and INAH4 are similar.


reported as smaller in homosexual males.

Sex differences in SNB

Nucleus in spinal cord of male rates much larger than in females. Motor neurons control muscles attached to the base of the penis that are involved in erection.In females the bublocavernosus and levator ani muscles are atrophied or completely missing.

Estrogen in SNB

has no effect on muscle or neuron survival.

Testosterone in SNB

rescues both muscle and neuron survival

Androgens in SNB

Androgen treatment rescues muscles in females. If muscle is already die, the androgens can't save it. `

Onuf's nucleus

human version of the SNB. Bulbocavernosus muscles present in both males and females. Differences in motor neuron not as pronounced.

Lesions in HVC and RA

disrupt bird song in adult birds.

Recursive loop in song learning

HVC to area x to dlm to iman to ra. also known as "anterior forebrain pathway" damage to structure can cause song abnormalities.

Sensory Stage Song Learning

Young bird hears and memorizes adult songs

Sensory-motor Stage Song Learning

Young bird tries to reproduce song from memory. Trial and error learning.

HVC song learning

large and more androgen receptors in males

RA song learning

larger in males

IMAN song learning

neurons in males have more androgen receptors

Adult singing

activated by testosterone

Estorgens song learning

masculinity song circuitry

Androgens song learning

activate song circuitry

Urinary Posture dogs

postpubertal females treated with testosterone before and after birth showed male urinary posture 50% of the time. Males castrated shortly after birth still shift to male urinary posture at puberty. (Organized by testosterone)

Rough and tumble play rhesus monkeys

males engage in more frequent rough and tumble play than females. Pseuohermaphrodites show frequencies between normal males and females. Castration did not change play frequencies. (organized by androgens)

For most human behaviors

differences within sexes greater than between sexes


initial processing of sensory information as it enters the nervous system.


transduction of this sensory information into biologically meaningful information


at what level can a stimulus be detected


at what point can a difference between 2 stimuli be detected.


given a choice, what stimuli are preferred?


females have lower threshold and less tolerance compares to males. Females have greater sensitivity to cutaneous and visceral pain; lower sensitivity to muscular pain.


Woman score better than men on odor detection on identification. Woman are 1000x more sensitive to musk like odors.

Periovulatory and early pregnancy

greater sensitivity

Menstruating and late pregnancy

lower sensitivity


females show more sensitivity than males. Females show more discrimination between different tastes. Females show estrogen dependent preference for sweet tastes.

Preference for sweet tastes

organized by lack of androgen, activated by estrogen in adulthood.


women are more sensitive than men; can hear pure tones at lower threshold.

Infant girls

prefer auditory information as a reward

Infant boys

prefer visual information as a reward

Otacoustic emission

females have louder OAEs than males. Prenatal androgens masculinize.


men see better than women. women can tolerate higher light intensity and adapt to darkness more quickly than men.

Male rats vision

Have 20% more neurons in primary visual cortex than females.


tendency for cognitive skills to be concentrated in one hemisphere or the other.

Right ear advantage

sound detection is usually better from the right ear, left hemisphere better at sound processing.

For right handers

right hemisphere used for spatial processing; left hemisphere used for verbal processing

Female brains

are less lateralized than male brains. Turner syndrome females and those exposed to DES prenatally have male-like lateralization.

Verbal Skills

women are better a verbal skills including language comprehension, language acquisition, spelling, verbal fluency and grammar skills.

Differences in Verbal Skills

are not organized by hormones. Social and environmental factors cannot be ruled out.

Planum Temporale

larger on left although size is less lateralized in females involved in speech

Superior temporal cortex/Broca's area

volumes larger in females, also involved in speech.

Rhyming Task

males use left inferior frontal gyrus. Females use both right and left inferior frontal gyri

Woman score better on

preceptual skills, fine motor skills, mathematical calculations

Men score better on

Gross Motor skills, Quantitative task, visuospatial abilities.

Visuospatial abilities

after puberty males perform better than females on visuospatial tasks

Male Sexual Behavior

all behavior that are necessary and sufficient to bring male (sperm) and female (ova) gametes together

Sexual motivation

sex drive or libido= motivational force that drives an individual to seek sex

Sexual Performance

copulation or mating

Appetitive Phase

seeking sex: all behaviors used by males to gain access to a female

Consummatory phase

having sex; involves potency, the capability of having sex and performance, actual mating


assuming mating position but no penis insertion


insertion of penis into vagina during amount


forceful expulsion of semen, often accompanied by a sperm plug that blocks intromission by other males.

Mount Latency

time to first mount

Obstruction test

male is required to "work" or endure pain to gain access to female

inter mount interval

time between successive mounts

inter intromission interval

time between successive intromissions

ejaculatory latency

time from 1st intromission to ejaculation

Post ejaculatory interval

time between ejaculation and next copulatory series

Castrated Males

show decreased motivation and performance, grows more pronounced over time. testosterone can restore sexual behavior but not simultaneously.

Maintenance treatment

androgens given immediately

restoration treatment

androgens given after behavior has stopped

Seasonal breeders

experience "natural" castration going into their non-breeding season ex. syrian hamsters in the fall.

Testosterone and androstenedione

can restore sexual behavior in castrates


can restore sexual behavior. both testosterine and androstendione can be converted to it!


reduces male sexual behavior (Aromatase inhibitor). these effects can be overcome with estrogen treatment.

Castration of spinally transected rats

penile reflexes start to decline over 24 hours. gone by 12 days. normal reflexes can be maintained or restored by testosterone implants. DHT maintains or restores penile reflexes.

Testosterone important for

sexual motivation and sexual performance

Estrogen important for

maintaining or restoring sexual behavior via action on the central nervous system.

DHT critical for

maintaining or restoring sexual performance via action on the peripheral nervous system.

Preoptic Area

lesions of it eliminate sexual performance but no motivation. testosterone treatment does not restore behavior

MPOA critical for

processing sensory cues.

Olfactory epithelia

main olfactory bulb

Vomeronasal Organ

accessory olfactory bulb

Chemosensory system

critical for male reproductive behavior.

Olfactory Amygdala

receives information from main olfactory bulb

Vomeronasal Amygdala

receives information from accessory olfactory bulb and "olfactory aygdala"; sends information to various hypothalamic nuclei.

Basolateral Nuclei

removal reduces sexual motivation but not performance

Corticomedial Nuclei

removal reduces sexual performance.

Testosterone levels

peak in teens and early 20s for human males


the period during which a female is sexually receptive , "in heat"


the 4-5 day female reproductive cycle in rodents

Vaginal cytological assay

shows changes in vaginal cell types. A modified version is the pap test

Graafian follicle

mature follicle containing egg to be released. Source of estrogens

Corpus luteum

develops from a follicle following release of egg. Source of progesterone

Castration of females

leads to increasing levels of gonadotropin and gonadotropin-releasing hormone

Vaginal estrus

after ovulation. corpus luteum develops from ruptured follicle. cornified epithelial cells.

Diestrus I

new follicles develop. leukocytes and few nucleated epithelial cells appear. Cornified epithelial cells decrease.

Diestrus II

follicles continue to mature


maximal follicular development. behavioral estrus occurs. Increased number of nucleated epithelial cells.


stimulate release of LH and FSH

LH and FSH

cause steady increase in estrogen

Follicular Phase

GnRH release by hypothalamus. Development of several follicles by FSH.

Luteal Phase

Ruptured follicle becomes corpus luteum. Corpus luteum secretes progesterone.


stimulates release of GnRH

Estradiol inhibits

Kiss1 expression in ARC leading to reduced GnRH and LH/FSH release

Estradiol stimulates

Kiss1 expression in AVPV leading to increased GnRH and LH/FSH release (females only)


stimulus value for a male


extent to which female initiate copulation. equivalent to "appetitive" phase in male sexual behavior. For most mammals, must have high estrogen.


responsiveness to male's sexual advances. equivalent to "consummatory" phase in males. hMust have high estrogen. Requires functional estrogen receptors.

Ovariectomized and anestrous females

are not attractive

Measuring attractivity

use a three chamber preference test.

Affiliative behaviors

behaviors that establish and maintain proximity to males.

Pace mating

enhances reproduction.


release of egg from follicle

Spontaneous Ovulation

cyclical release of eggs based on a set time cycle

Induced ovulation

release of eggs contingent upon external stimuli


luteal phase when the uterus prepares for pregnancy

Spontaneous Pseuopregnancy

formation of corpora lutea always follows ovulation

Induced Pseudopregnancy

formation of corpora lutea requires additional stimuli.

Parental behavior

Any behavior that contributes directly to the survival of fertilized eggs or offspring that have left the females body.

When 2 adults are required for survival of young

a parental male will have greater reproductive success than a nonparental male.

Parental Investment

extent to which parents compromise their ability to produce additional offspring in order to assist their current offspring.


well developed, ready to cope with environment early on; surivival does not depend much or at all on parental intervention


immature, helpless; limited movement, cannot thermoregulate


can see and thermoregulate but cannot move indepedently


young are highly altricial, embryo-like. females have pouches that contain mammary glands and are used to carry young.


young are "born" at an even earlier developmental stage : eggs

Eutherian Patterin 1

mother provides food, care and shelter

Eutherian Pattern 2

precocial young, exclusive bond forms between mother and offspring

Eutherian Pattern 3

semiprecocial young, helpless but able to clin to mother

Critical components of rat maternal behavior

licking and grooming of pups, nursing, pup retrieval.

"pup induction"

foster pups are presented to adults to see if and how long it will take to induce parental behavior. invovles different latencies depending on physiological state of primiparous feamales.

oxytocin levels increase

during parturition. injection into brain ovariectomized, estrogen-treated female rats causes expression of maternal behavior in 1 hour.

Anesthetizing mother's muzzle and/or nipples

reduces maternal behavior due to lack of sensory information needed.

MPOA and maternal behavior

involved in maternal motivation and performance.

Lesions to the chemosensory system

reduces latency to maternal behavior

Olfactory and vomeronasal inputs

to the MPOA normally inhibit maternal behavior.

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