Chapter 6: Hormones and Behavior

6.5: Discussion Questions and Resources

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some of the problems associated with attempting to determine causation in a hormone–behavior interaction? What are the best ways to address these problems?
  2. Hormones cause changes in the rates of cellular processes or in cellular morphology. What are some ways that these hormonally induced cellular changes might theoretically produce profound changes in behavior?
  3. List and describe some behavioral sex differences that you have noticed between female and male children. What causes females and males to choose different toys? Do you think that the sex differences you have noted arise from biological causes or are learned? How would you go about establishing your opinions as fact?
  4. Why is it inappropriate to refer to androgens as “male” hormones and estrogens as “female” hormones?
  5. Imagine that you discovered that the brains of architects were different from those of non-architects—specifically, that the “drawstraightem nuclei” of the right temporal lobe were enlarged in architects as compared with non-architects. Would you argue that architects were destined to be architects because of their brain organization or that experience as an architect changed their brains? How would you resolve this issue?

Outside Resources

Book: Adkins-Regan, E. (2005). Hormones and animal social behavior. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Book: Beach, F. A. (1948). Hormones and behavior. New York: Paul Hoeber.

Book: Nelson, R. J. (2011). An introduction to behavioral endocrinology (4th ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.

Book: Pfaff, D. W. (2009). Hormones, brain, and behavior (2nd ed.). New York: Academic Press.

Book: Pfaff, D. W., Phillips, I. M., & Rubin, R. T. (2005). Principles of hormone/behavior relations. New York: Academic Press.

Article: Beach, F. A. (1975). Behavioral endocrinology: An emerging discipline. American Scientist, 63: 178–187.

Video: Endocrinology Video (Playlist) – This YouTube playlist contains many helpful videos on the biology of hormones, including reproduction and behavior. This would be a helpful resource for students struggling with hormone synthesis, reproduction, regulation of biological functions, and signaling pathways.

Video: Paul Zak: Trust, morality – and oxytocin- This Ted talk explores the roles of oxytocin in the body. Paul Zak discusses biological functions of oxytocin, such as lactation, as well as potential behavioral functions, such as empathy.

Video: The Teenage Brain Explained- This is a great video explaining the roles of hormones during puberty.

Web: Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology – This website contains resources on current news and research in the field of neuroendocrinology.



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