Links for Keyword: Sexual Behavior

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to our mailing list, to receive news updates. Learn more.


Links 1 - 20 of 1495

By JOANNA KLEIN FEB. 13, 2018 If Cupid wanted to make two songbirds fall in love, he’d have better luck aiming at their brains. That’s because songbirds, which form lifelong mating pairs, have brain systems perfectly tuned to fit together. While you sort through the messages of admirers, deciding who to make your Valentine, consider finches. Young males in this family of feathered crooners learn the song of their father, perfect it and perform it as adults to attract a lifelong mate. It’s loud, elaborate and precise. With their songs they say “chirp, chirp — my brain is healthy, and my body is strong. That’s something you’re into, right?” A female finch also learns the songs of her father from a young age, but she doesn’t perform. She’s the critic. She analyzes every detail of a potential mate’s song, compares it to her father’s example and decides if this performer is one she’d like to keep around. If she detects a song is too simple or off in any way, she’ll have nothing to do with its performer. She’s very picky, as she should be, because the mate she chooses will help raise their young — till death do they part. Over the past decade, researchers looking into the chickpea-sized brains of finches have discovered that each sex uses what’s called its sound control system to convert sound waves to social messages and then use them to find mates, kind of how humans use vocal sounds to communicate. And while these systems are well-developed and finely tuned in both sexes of songbirds, the wiring is different. “The biggest difference between male and female brains of the same species is found in songbirds,” said Sarah Woolley, a neuroscientist who studies finches at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute. Dr. Woolley’s lab has been looking into the acoustic systems of zebra, bengalese and long-tailed finches to see how their brains take in and process sounds — learning, performing and analyzing different parts of them to make sense of songs. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24660 - Posted: 02.14.2018

An all-female freshwater fish species called the Amazon molly that inhabits rivers and creeks along the Texas-Mexico border is living proof that sexual reproduction may be vastly overrated. Scientists said on Monday they have deciphered the genome of the Amazon molly, one of the few vertebrate species to rely upon asexual reproduction, and discovered that it had none of the genetic flaws, such as an accumulation of harmful mutations or a lack of genetic diversity, they had expected. They found that the Amazon molly, named after the fierce female warriors of ancient Greek mythology, boasts a hardy genetic makeup that makes it equally fit, or even more so, than fish using sexual reproduction in which both maternal and paternal genes are passed along to offspring. "The Amazon molly is doing quite well," said biologist Manfred Schartl of the University of Wuerzburg in Germany. "Unexpectedly, we did not find the signs of genomic decay as predicted." The fish reproduces using a strategy in which a female's egg cell develops into a baby without being fertilized by a male's sperm cell. But that does not mean the fish does not need some hanky panky. "The Amazon molly female produces clones of itself by duping a male of a closely related species to mate with her. The asexual mode of reproduction termed gynogenesis requires the female to mate with a male but none of the male's genome is passed to the offspring," said geneticist Wesley Warren of the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. ©2018 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24659 - Posted: 02.14.2018

Adam Cole Love is complicated, scientifically speaking. There's no single, specific "love chemical" that surges through our bodies when we see our beloved, and we can't point to a specific corner of the brain where love resides. Still, scientists have measured real changes in our bodies when we fall in love: an ebb and flow of signaling molecules. In that early lustful phase, sex hormones like testosterone fuel the libido (in both men and women). The dopamine highs of new attraction have been compared by some scientists to the effects of cocaine use. The anxiety associated with new romance has been linked to low levels of serotonin in the brain. And some researchers say they see similarities in the way serotonin is regulated in the early phases of love and the way it is modulated in obsessive compulsive disorder. Meanwhile, our brains start producing more oxytocin, a chemical that is crucial to, among other things, the bonding of mothers and infants. Comparisons to drug use and compulsion aren't perfect (obviously there's a lot more fancy chemistry going on in our brains) but they do seem to speak to our experience. In Skunk Bear's new video, we explore the symptoms of love and their neurological causes. Why does your heart race when you see your crush? What gives you that feeling of butterflies? And why does love make us act so dumb? This love ballad is our Valentine's gift to you. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24651 - Posted: 02.13.2018

A mutant species of all-female crayfish taking over the world is not the latest science fiction film but a real-life environmental thriller. A new study has found that marbled crayfish are multiplying rapidly and invading ecosystems across the world. The ten-legged pests are descended from one single female with a mutation allowing it to reproduce without males. These self-cloning ladies are found for sale in North America, despite a warning against keeping them as pets. Sales of the six-inch creature are already banned by the European Union. Procambarus virginalis did not exist three decades ago. Born to a male and female slough crayfish, a species originally from Florida, the original marbled crayfish had an additional set of chromosomes - a mutation that made her distinct from her parents and allowed her to reproduce without having to mate. Now officially a separate species, the marbled crayfish can been found in the wild in Japan, Madagascar, multiple European countries and the US. The new study published in Nature, Ecology and Evolution describes the invasive species as a threat to wild ones, particularly seven native species in Madagascar. "If you have one animal, essentially, three months later, you will have 200 or 300," Dr Wolfgang Stein, one of the researchers, told Canadian public broadcaster CBC. Dr Stein, who is a neurophysiologist at Illinois State University, told the BBC that they compared 11 marbled crayfish, spread through the pet trade to four locations on three continents. He noted that while they all share the DNA of one mother crayfish, there were some differences in "colouring". "The animal sequenced here by us in the US was more blue-ish than the ones from Germany and Madagascar," Dr Stein said. © 2018 BBC.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24650 - Posted: 02.13.2018

By Kimberly Hickok Your webcam may know your face, but your keyboard knows your gender. Computer models can predict with 95.6% accuracy whether a man or woman is typing, according to a new study. To conduct the research, computer engineers installed keystroke-logging software onto the personal computers of 75 volunteers—36 men, 39 women—which monitored their daily computer use for 10 months. The researchers then used a program they created, called “ISqueezeU” to calculate the relative helpfulness of different typing features for determining gender—things like the time between two specific keystrokes, or the amount of time a key is pressed down during a single keystroke. A few features stood out as being more useful than others. For example, the average time between pressing the “N” key to pressing the “O” key was the most helpful, followed by the average time between pressing the “M” and “O” keys. The program isn’t capable of specifying whether a man or woman types those keys faster or more often—only that there is a difference. The researchers then tested the program’s findings using five machine learning models, which are computer programs that build models based on what they “learn” from existing data. All five models were able to predict gender accurately more than 78% of the time, with the most successful model being more than 95% accurate, the engineers report this week in Digital Investigation. The team proposes the use of keystroke dynamics as a cost-efficient and nonintrusive way to identify the gender of unknown computer users in criminal investigations, such as in cases of cyberstalking or identity theft. The researchers plan to expand their data collection with more volunteers, and see whether incorporating other variables such as handedness or education level can increase accuracy. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 24639 - Posted: 02.10.2018

Robert D. Martin This may be surprising to some: A woman's age is not alone in affecting pregnancy and birth, despite the impression often given. Reviewing Paul Raeburn's book Do Fathers Matter?, Tabitha Powledge wrote: "Everybody knows that older mothers run higher risks of a baby with birth defects — Down syndrome being the most common and best-known. By comparison, hardly anybody knows that the older Dad gets, the riskier it is for him to conceive a child." Partners age together, so a fetus or baby with an older mother will mostly have an older father, too. Logic demands exploration of age effects in both sexes. Though few and far between, such studies do indeed reveal that both men and women contribute. With Down syndrome, age effects for fathers and mothers are roughly balanced. But new data clearly show that, when it comes to inherited defects, fathers actually carry greater risks than mothers. Random changes in DNA — mutations — accumulate four times faster in sperms than in eggs. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace realized that variety is not just the spice of life; it is the very essence. Inherited differences between individuals are the raw material for natural selection. And the prime source of natural variation in genes is new mutations. These have been studied intensively, notably regarding rates of change. Yet mutation also has a dark side because it can produce adverse effects along with variety. Hence, the mutation rate has fundamental implications for medical genetics as well as for evolutionary biology. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24592 - Posted: 01.31.2018

Emily Willingham How many times did I say it – to myself, out loud alone or out loud to others, throughout my childhood? ‘I wish I were a boy.’ The words were mine, a fervent and frequent wish. They were not born of a feeling of mismatch between external expectations and internal signals. Except for a lifelong tension with society’s mixed messages about what it means to be a woman, I’m comfortable identifying as the gender assigned to me. But I wished for boyness because the boys did so many things I wanted to do and was excluded from doing because I was a girl. My body and my brain mapped to each other just fine, but my body didn’t map at all to what society told these boys – and me – I was allowed to do. As many a woman can attest, this feeling of belonging in male spaces that lock you out doesn’t end with teenhood, adulthood, careerhood or parenthood. An aficionado of adventure stories, I couldn’t – still can’t – help but notice that the places men can go are often No Women’s Lands for someone like me. Not because I lack the physicality, strength or stamina to traverse them but because the mere presentation of being female is itself dangerous. Realistically, it invites violence, exclusion and violation in too many ways to be considered anything but a liability. And then there are the less wild places, just boys’ clubs and men’s clubs, de facto or tacit, where being a girl or woman means being viewed as an intruder or, as women have always known, being subject to harassment or worse. Every day, I see men circle their masculinity like musk oxen, protective and exclusionary, in my professions of academia and journalism. Even in the virtual world of social media, they reflexively exclude women who are their peers in expertise and competence while readily engaging men who are neither. I am wryly amused when people committed to the idea that men and women are cognitively different throw women the double-edged bone of being ‘better at verbal expression’. (Look, we’re good at a thing! That you’ll also use to make fun of us chatty, chatty Cathies!) I read that and think of who receives most of the major book awards and other writing accolades. Hint: it’s men. I’ll wager that the social factors involved in the latter contribute to the assumptions underlying the former. © Aeon Media Group Ltd. 2012-2018.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24581 - Posted: 01.29.2018

By Shawna Williams When the Voyager I spacecraft left Earth in 1977, it carried with it a “Golden Record” containing audio recordings of messages meant for any intelligent life that might cross its path. It bore sounds from around the world, including greetings in 55 languages, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” and a fussy baby being soothed by its mother. According to Marc Bornstein, a developmental psychologist at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Carl Sagan and other members of the committee who decided what to include on the record were spot on in picking the latter track. “Infant cry is . . . the very first communication between an infant and a caregiver,” Bornstein says. Crying is infants’ best tool for ensuring they get the care they need, but Bornstein and his research collaborators wondered about the caregivers’ responses: to what extent were those innate versus learned? To investigate, they enrolled 684 new mothers and their babies from 11 countries around the world and put cameras in their homes. Each time a baby began crying, the researchers recorded what the mother did in the next five seconds. Did she pick the baby up? Kiss or stroke it? Talk to it? Try to distract it with a toy? “Within five seconds, the predominant kinds of responses are picking up and holding and talking to the baby,” says Bornstein (PNAS, 114:E9465-73, 2017). The degree of uniformity surprised him. “People in Kenya and Cameroon . . . the mothers are growing up and have been reared in wildly different circumstances than mothers in Brazil and Argentina or the United States, or certainly than Japan or South Korea.” © 1986-2018 The Scientist

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 24571 - Posted: 01.26.2018

Michael Seto Mr. Smith was a 27-year-old man referred for psychological treatment after sexually offending against a 13-year-old boy. He initially denied the charge, but eventually admitted to sexually abusing multiple youth. He later admitted he’d been attracted to boys since his own adolescence. Mr. Smith is actually a case composite from my first book on pedophilia. But the description is representative of stories I’ve heard from the hundreds of individuals I’ve talked with as a psychologist and researcher over the past 25 years. Most men are sexually attracted to sexually mature young adults. But a small minority of men are sexually attracted to other age groups, from infants to the elderly. These age-based attractions are called chronophilias. My research focuses on chronophilias and sexual offending against children. Recently, I’ve started to think about these age-specific attractions as sexual orientations for age, similar to how we understand sexual orientation for gender. This is quite different from the traditional way that psychologists view chronophilias, as sexual preferences that are distinct from someone’s identity. This idea – that chronophilias can be understood as sexual orientations for age – is provocative, because it raises ethical, legal and scientific questions about how we think about sexual orientation, the etiology of sexual preferences and how we respond to sexual offenses against minors. © 2010–2018, The Conversation US, Inc.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24552 - Posted: 01.23.2018

Lions, elephants, and baboons are matriarchies that are female-centric in different ways, for different reasons. Lion mothers form ‘daycare centres’ to nurse their young and sisters band together to hunt for their families. It’s not the male who’s the bread-winner — it’s the female. Elephants are led by the eldest female who knows all the watering holes and strategies for survival. Her age and memory of how to survive the long dry season is key in a climate plagued by drought. Baboons have a female royal family where, surprisingly, it’s the youngest female who ascends to the throne. Mommy Wildest is an intimate story – the ”days of our lives” of these families, with individual characters whose challenges we follow: the Ol Dikidiki pride of lionesses raising their 11 cubs; Donatella, the elephant grandmother who leads her family to safety from gunshots shielding them from danger, and bay Rijeka, the baboon princess surrounded by her sisters. Mommy Wildest also follows the leading scientists in their field who’ve been asking: Why did these three societies evolve into matriarchies? What can humans learn from them? Dr. Craig Packer IS the lion king. He’s the foremost lion expert in the world and has been studying lions for more than 40 years. In this film, he travels to Maasai Mara to visit one of the richest concentrations of lions left in the world, and to meet the Ol Dikidiki pride. It was Dr. Packer who determined why lionesses bond together in sisterhoods –it’s to defend against roving males who would kill their cubs and take over the pride. By working together, the sisters can defend against the much stronger male. ©2018 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24544 - Posted: 01.20.2018

Richard Harris The results of an IQ test can depend on the gender of the person who's conducting the test. Likewise, studies of pain medication can be completely thrown off by the gender of the experimenter. This underappreciated problem is one reason that some scientific findings don't stand the test of time. Colin Chapman found out about this problem the hard way. He had traveled to Sweden on a Fulbright scholarship to launch his career in neuroscience. And he decided to study whether a nasal spray containing a hormone called oxytocin would help control obesity. The hormone influences appetite and impulsive behavior in obese men. "I was really excited about this project, from what I understood about how the brain works, I thought it was kind of a slam dunk," he says. Chapman set up the experiment and then left for a few years to attend Harvard Law School. When he returned, the findings were not at all what he expected, "and I was really disappointed because this was my baby, it was my big project going into neuroscience." But Chapman, who is now a graduate student at the University of Uppsala, says his idea turned out to be right after all. "There was another research group that around the same time came up with the same idea," he says. "And they ran basically the same project and they got exactly the results I was expecting to get." © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 8: General Principles of Sensory Processing, Touch, and Pain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 24517 - Posted: 01.11.2018

By KAREN WEINTRAUB Male sea turtles are disappearing from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. A new study of gender ratios found that 99 percent of immature green turtles born in the northern part of the reef are female. Among adult turtles, 87 percent are female, suggesting that there has been a shift in gender ratios over the last few decades. A sea turtle’s sex is determined by its nesting environment. As sands warm, more females will hatch relative to males; if the sand temperature tops 84.7 degrees during incubation, only females will emerge. The gender shift suggests that climate change is having a significant effect on one of the biggest green turtle populations in the world, said Michael Jensen, lead author of the new study, published in Current Biology. “We’re all trying to wrap our heads around how these populations are going to respond to those changes,” said Dr. Jensen, a marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in San Diego. The gender shift has been noticed before by people who study hatchlings, said Jeanette Wyneken, a sea turtle expert and professor at Florida Atlantic University, who was not involved in the new research. But it wasn’t clear until this study that the shift was so dramatic and happening in such a large population across time, she said. “This is the first paper that’s shown this multigenerational effect,” influencing the gender of juveniles, older adolescents and adults, Dr. Wyneken said. It takes 35 to 40 years for a green sea turtle to reach sexual maturity, she said. “These animals are teenagers for an awfully long time,” Dr. Wyneken said. “We won’t see the effects of what’s happening today for several decades.” David Owens, a professor emeritus from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, was not involved in the new study, but said he’s dreamed of doing such research for years. He praised the way the study team — which included a wide range of expertise — was able to link temperature with turtle gender. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24516 - Posted: 01.11.2018

Nicola Davis Sexual interactions between snow monkeys and sika deer could be a new behavioural tradition within a group of monkeys observed in Japan, researchers have suggested. While the first report of a male Japanese macaque, or snow monkey, and female sika deer taking to each other was revealed earlier this year, scientists say they are now confident the behaviour is sexual after scrutinising adolescent females suggestively interacting with stags at Minoo in Japan. “The monkey-deer sexual interactions reported in our paper may reflect the early stage development of a new behavioural tradition at Minoo,” said Dr Noëlle Gunst-Leca, co-author of the study from the University of Lethbridge in Canada. While sexual interactions between closely related species have been seen for all manner of animals, from various species of fish to species of baboon, such liaisons are rare, with the sexual assault of king penguins by Antarctic fur seals the only other known example between distant species. But earlier this year, a study revealed a male Japanese macaque had been filmed mounting a female Sika deer at Yakushima island in southern Japan. Gunst-Leca said it wasn’t clear quite what was going on. “They were dealing with a single anecdotal event between one individual monkey and one individual deer, and the description they provided was short, vague and out of context,” she said. “As a result, even the sexual nature of this interaction was not clearly demonstrated.” © 2017 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24434 - Posted: 12.18.2017

By Simon Makin Researchers have known for some time that female athletes experience higher rates of concussion than their male counterparts, and also often suffer harsher symptoms and take longer to recover. But why women seem more vulnerable to such injuries has long remained a puzzle. Concussion symptoms range from headache, dizziness and confusion to memory loss, noise or light sensitivity, and irritability. Most people recover quickly but some develop problems lasting a year or more. A 2010 study led by neurologist Jeffrey Bazarian of the University of Rochester found that women—especially those of child-bearing age—had worse symptoms measured three months after injury. Several explanations have been proposed including sex hormones, neck structure and cerebral blood flow, but no one really knows what is to blame. Now, however, a study led by Douglas Smith, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania, adds a new candidate: differences in axons—the output “wires” of neurons. Smith and his colleagues discovered differences in the size and structure of male and female axons, and found the female structure was more susceptible to damage. “The findings are intriguing,” says neuropsychologist Donna Broshek of the University of Virginia, who was not involved in the study. “Many theories have been put forth, including that—because of differences in cultural socialization—women are more likely to endorse symptoms.” But the new results, published online last month, “suggest that women report more symptoms because they are...experiencing more symptoms,” Broshek says. © 2017 Scientific American,

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 24431 - Posted: 12.16.2017

By Andy Coghlan Two gene variants have been found to be more common in gay men, adding to mounting evidence that sexual orientation is at least partly biologically determined. How does this change what we already knew? Didn’t we already know there were “gay genes”? We have known for decades that sexual orientation is partly heritable in men, thanks to studies of families in which some people are straight and some people are gay. In 1993, genetic variations in a region on the X chromosome in men were linked to whether they were heterosexual or homosexual, and in 1995, a region on chromosome 8 was identified. Both findings were confirmed in a study of gay and straight brothers in 2014. However, these studies didn’t home in on any specific genes on this chromosome. What’s new about the latest study? For the first time, individual genes have been identified that may influence how sexual orientation develops in boys and men, both in the womb and during life. Alan Sanders at North Shore University, Illinois, and his team pinpointed these genes by comparing DNA from 1077 gay and 1231 straight men. They scanned the men’s entire genomes, looking for single-letter differences in their DNA sequences. This enabled them to home in on two genes whose variants seem to be linked to sexual orientation. © Copyright New Scientist Ltd.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 24413 - Posted: 12.09.2017

Michael Ruffolo When we talk about female representation in science, we’re rarely talking about test subjects. We tend to want more women behind the microscope, not under it. Neuroscience is one of the most skewed fields when it comes to testing on female physiology. One review found single-sex brain studies using male animals outnumbered those using females 6.7 to one. Aarthi Gobinath, a neuroscientist at the University of British Columbia, calls this a “hidden gap” in her field. She says there’s reason to question the assumption that the brains of males and females are identical, particularly in unique states like pregnancy. This is particularly true for early animal testing, where new drugs for depression and anxiety are first developed. “This leads to the ultimate outcome of our research not even benefiting males and females equally,” Gobinath said. Gobinath wanted to tackle the issue of sex bias by trying to understand what depression looks like in female rat brains, specifically looking at postpartum depression. Her research suggests our standard depression treatments don’t apply to new moms. VICE caught up with Gobinath to ask about her new study, which could have wide-ranging implications for humans of all sexes and genders. VICE: What do you mean when you say there’s “sex bias” in brain research? Aarthi Gobinath: So when I say "sex," what I mean is genetic sex, meaning XX or XY chromosomes. [Sex bias] is a bias toward using male subjects in research and then concluding from that research that what was true in that experiment will be true for both sexes without necessarily addressing that maybe it won’t be true for the female physiology.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24411 - Posted: 12.09.2017

Laura Sanders When you lock eyes with a baby, it’s hard to look away. For one thing, babies are fun to look at. They’re so tiny and cute and interesting. For another, babies love to stare back. I remember my babies staring at me so hard, with their eyebrows raised and unblinking eyes wide open. They would have killed in a staring contest. This mutual adoration of staring may be for a good reason. When a baby and an adult make eye contact, their brain waves fall in sync, too, a new study finds. And those shared patterns of brain activity may actually pave the way for better communication between baby and adult: Babies make more sweet, little sounds when their eyes are locked onto an adult who is looking back. The scientists report the results online November 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Psychologist Victoria Leong of the University of Cambridge and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and colleagues invited infants into the lab for two experiments. In the first, the team outfitted 17 8-month-old babies with EEG caps, headwear covered with electrodes that measure the collective behavior of nerve cells across the brain. The infants watched a video in which an experimenter, also outfitted in an EEG cap, sung a nursery rhyme while looking either straight ahead at the baby, at the baby but with her head turned at a 20-degree angle, or away from the baby and with her head turned at a 20-degree angle. When the researcher looked at the baby (either facing the baby or with her head slightly turned), the babies’ brains responded, showing activity patterns that started to closely resemble those of the researcher. © Society for Science and the Public

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 24395 - Posted: 12.06.2017

By BENEDICT CAREY The recent surge in accusations of sexual harassment and assault has prompted some admitted offenders to seek professional help for the emotional or personality distortions that underlie their behavior. “My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons,” the producer Harvey Weinstein said in a statement in October. The actor Kevin Spacey announced that he would be “taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment.” Whatever mix of damage control and contrition they represent, pledges like these suggest that there are standard treatments for perpetrators of sexual offenses. In fact, no such standard treatments exist, experts say. Even the notion of “sexual addiction” as a stand-alone diagnosis is in dispute. “There are no evidence-based programs I know of for the sort of men who have been in the news recently,” said Vaile Wright, director of research and special projects at the American Psychological Association. That doesn’t mean that these men cannot change their ways with professional help. The evidence that talk therapy and medication can curb sexual misconduct is modest at best, and virtually all of it comes from treating severe disorders, like pedophilia and exhibitionism, experts said — powerful urges that cannot be turned off. Still, there is reason to think that these therapeutic approaches can be adapted to treatment of the men accused of offenses ranging from unwanted attention to rape. “You’re really looking at two categories of people,” said Rory Reid, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has a clinical practice focusing on sexual problems. “One is what I call sexually compulsive behavior. The other is reserved for people committing non-consensual acts — sex offenders.” The first group includes the college student failing out because he spends all his time surfing porn sites, or the man who is visiting prostitutes so often it’s threatening his livelihood and health. © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 24371 - Posted: 11.28.2017

Sara Reardon When it comes to lab mice and antidepressants, it's complicated. Mouse experiments with the popular club drug ketamine may be skewed by the sex of the researcher performing them, a study suggests. The findings, presented on 14 November at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) meeting in Washington DC, only deepen the mystery of how ketamine, which has powerful mood-lifting properties, interacts with the brain. They also raise questions about the reproducibility of behavioural experiments in mice. Ketamine is best known as a psychoactive recreational drug. But it has caught psychiatrists’ interest because of its potential to treat depression within hours. It’s unclear exactly how the drug works, however, and many researchers are using animal models to suss out the mechanism. Polymnia Georgiou, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, is one of them. In 2015, a male colleague asked her to run some experiments for him while he was out of town, including a standard way of testing antidepressants called the forced-swim test. In this assay, researchers inject healthy mice with a drug, place them into a tank of water and measure how long they swim before they give up and wait for someone to rescue them. Antidepressants can cause healthy mice to swim for longer than their untreated counterparts, which is what Georgiou’s male colleague found during his experiments using ketamine. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 24341 - Posted: 11.20.2017

By Jessica Hamzelou Heavy drinkers and abstainers don’t make the best couples. In humans, one partner that drinks more than the other is thought to be a recipe for a breakup. The same appears to be true for prairie voles, one of the only other mammals known to form long-term monogamous relationships. The finding suggests the link between alcohol consumption and relationship failure may have a biological basis, say the researchers. “There is an increase in divorce in couples in which there is discordant drinking,” says Andrey Ryabinin at Oregon Health and Science University. Money is thought to play a role, but nobody knows the precise causes because a randomised study in people would be unethical. “You can’t tell people to start drinking,” he says. To explore the question in animals, Ryabinin and his colleague Andre Walcott turned to prairie voles: the only rodents known to form lasting, monogamous relationships. “They maintain the same pair bond for their entire lives,” says Ryabinin. Unlike other rodents, both partners take care of offspring. And rather than leaving the nest as soon as they reach adolescence, the young stay and look after their younger siblings. Prairie voles are also the only rodents known to willingly drink alcohol. While mice and rats avoid the stuff, prairie voles prefer it to water, says Ryabinin. Voles on the sauce Ryabinin has previously shown that alcohol consumption affects prairie vole relationships. When given a choice between their partner and a new female, male voles that drank more alcohol were more likely to go and mate with the new female than those that abstained. Alcohol seemed to have the opposite effect in females – those that drank more alcohol more strongly preferred their original partner. © Copyright New Scientist Ltd.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24325 - Posted: 11.15.2017