September 2, 2010
Instructor Mary Rockey, Ph. D., BCBA
Heredity and Hormones
As much as people can see the physical characteristics that are passed down along generations, people may not realize just how much of their behavior is passed down genetically.
The endocrine system contain glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream that act as a communication system that helps coordinate and control body functions like, reproduction, sexual development, growth and development, metabolism, and body energy levels. The thyroid gland produces thyroxin, which regulates the body’s metabolism. The parathyroid, control the levels of calcium and phosphate, which contribute to the body’s excitability levels. The pineal glands produce melatonin, which regulate sleep cycles. The pancreas controls the blood sugar levels. The adrenal glands are the body’s stress regulator, using the hormones epinephrine and nor epinephrine. The gonads in males are called the testes, which produce androgen, and in females, they are called the ovaries, which produce estrogen. Males and females produce and need both hormones for development and regulating body functions. Testosterone and androgens are associated with sexual interest and behavior in males and females. The amount of testosterone in a male has been linked to the levels of aggression they portray. When testosterone is low in females, they portray a behavior known as nesting. When estrogen levels are high, a female is more receptive to a male’s sexual attention. This probably has to do with the evolutionary psychology concerning procreation and the survival of the species. When a female is ovulating, and therefore has higher estrogen levels, she has higher levels of manual dexterity, verbal skills, and perceptual speed.
Evolutionary psychology is “a subfield of psychology concerned with origins of behaviors and mental processes, their adaptive value, and the purposes they...