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Sex Hormones’ Influence on Sexual Differentiation of Behavior

The article by Berenbaum and Beltz (2011) might be viewed as the foundation for further research on sex hormones’ influence on sexual differentiation of behavior, but it does not provide conclusive evidence. The authors suggest that irreversible behavior changes occur in the prenatal stage of human development when androgens affect future activity levels and interests, but not gender identity (Berenbaum & Beltz, 2011).

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The description of puberty’s organizational effects lacks clarity, so the article cannot be used independently and needs additional data examining the long-lasting impact of androgens. The topic of sex-specific human behavior origins presents a challenge for researchers because existing evidence is based on animal research (Kopec et al., 2018). The source indicates the directions and opportunities for studying psychological consequences of sex-hormone stimulation and summarizes the findings that might be used as the basis of further research.

The article by de Vries and Forger (2015) is a meaningful contribution to the discussion of sex-linked behavior, as it is based on the assumption that the brain is largely responsible for sexual differentiation and behavior. According to the authors, sex differences originate in the brain and determine male- or female-specific behavior in response to hormone metabolism (Vries & Forger, 2015). This position might be supported by Bekhbat et al. (2021), suggesting that adolescent stress causes the neuroimmune system to adopt sex-specific behavior and determining the brain as the source of sex differences. The original article can help understand the differences in the brain as it explains how differently men and women process information, which in turn impacts how they are perceived by individuals of the opposite sex.

The critical review by van Anders and Watson (2006) delivers evidence-based but inconclusive results regarding sex-specific behavior in contrast to the previous sources, as it focuses on the effects of human behavior on hormones. The authors describe the current body of research on the topic as incomplete and maintain that androgen and estrogen secretion is affected by environmental and behavioral factors (Anders & Watson, 2006). However, Kusev et al. (2017) demonstrate that psychological components impact sex-specific decision-making and actions, which can cause immediate cortisol release, while high testosterone levels stimulate risky behaviors. Thus, cognitive and emotional factors can significantly affect hormones and vice versa, so the article should be supported by additional research to support the authors’ findings.

References

Bekhbat, M., Mukhara, D., Dozmorov, M. G., Stansfield, J. C., Benusa, S. D., Hyer, M. M., Rowson, S. A., Kelly, S. D., Qin, Z., Dupree, J. L., Tharp, G. K., Tansey, M. G., & Neigh, G. N. (2021). Adolescent stress sensitizes the adult neuroimmune transcriptome and leads to sex-specific microglial and behavioral phenotypes. Neuropsychopharmacology. Web.

Berenbaum, S. A., & Beltz, A. M. (2011). Sexual differentiation of human behavior: Effects of prenatal and pubertal organizational hormones. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 32, 183–200.

de Vries, G. J., & Forger, N. G. (2015). Sex differences in the brain: A whole body perspective. Biology of Sex Differences, 6. Web.

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Kopec, A. M., Smith, C. J., Ayre, N. R., Sweat, S. C., & Bilbo, S. D. (2018). Microglial dopamine receptor elimination defines sex-specific nucleus accumbens development and social behavior in adolescent rats. Nature Communications, 9. Web.

Kusev, P., Purser, H., Heilman, R., Cooke, A. J., Van Shaik, P., Baranova, V., Martin, R., & Ayton, P. (2017). Understanding risky behavior: The influence of cognitive, emotional and hormonal factors on decision-making under risk. Frontiers in Psychology. Web.

van Anders, S. M., & Watson, N. V. (2006). Social neuroendocrinology: Effects of social contexts and behaviors on sex steroid in humans. Human Nature, 17(2), 212–237.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Sex Hormones’ Influence on Sexual Differentiation of Behavior'. 19 June.

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