Department of Psychology pres.
CANCELLED: UM Psychology Community Talk: Sex and the Brain: What Difference does it Make?
Jill Becker, Professor of Psychology
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.
Bio: Dr. Becker received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the Patricia Y. Gurin Collegiate Professor of Psychology, Research Professor in the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, and Senior Neuroscience Scholar, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Becker is the author of over 150 articles or chapters and has had numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Becker’s research of the last 30 years has been investigating how gender/sex and ovarian hormones influence brain and behavior. These findings are important for our understanding of the underlying neural processes involved in sex differences in drug abuse and other neurological disorders.
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