Departments of Psychology and Neurobiology
Hormones, mating, and pairing: A tale of two birds
May 2, 2008
Engineering Building 110, 4:00 PM
Animal behaviorists seek to understand behavior by asking questions about its function (adaptive value), evolutionary history, physiology, and development. These first two can be thought of as “why” questions, and the last two as “how” questions. These are often studied separately, but a more integrative approach leads to asking “why” questions about physiology and development, and “how” questions about evolution. A research program to determine the role of sex hormones in mating and pairing in birds will be described that can serve as an example of an engagement with this kind of integrative thinking.
Elizabeth Adkins-Regan received her PhD in 1971 from the University of Pennsylvania in physiological psychology. She has been on the faculty of Cornell University since 1975, where she teaches a non-majors course, Brain Mind and Behavior, and an upper-level course, Hormones and Behavior. Her research seeks to understand the neuroendocrinology of reproductive behavior in birds, including how hormones act on the brain and where, how sex differences in behavior develop, and how social relationships such as pair bonds form.