Jill Becker, Patricia Y. Gurin Collegiate Professor of Psychology; Biopsych Area Chair

Sex and the Brain: What Difference Does it Make?

Abstract: Have you ever wondered how males and females come to be different? Is it all cultural? Are the brains of females and males hardwired to be different? In this talk we will explore sex differences in brain and behavior and how the brain becomes individualized in female and males. We will see that during development, genetics, hormones, and the environment all act on the brain to influence neuronal growth and connections. This can result in sex dependent development of the brain, as an individual interacts with the environment during maturation. We will discuss what this means for the brain and for behavior of males and females during childhood, adolescence and adulthood and the implications for cognitive function. Then, we will consider sex differences in the motivation to take drugs of abuse and drug taking behavior. Sex differences in addiction are seen for all classes of abused drugs in humans and animal models. These sex differences in the neural mechanisms of addiction have implications for interventions and treatment that will be discussed.

Stream talk here.

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