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Sex Differences in the BrainFrom Genes to Behavior$
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Jill B. Becker, Karen J. Berkley, Nori Geary, Elizabeth Hampson, James P. Herman, and Elizabeth Young

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195311587

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311587.001.0001

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Sex Differences in Motivation

Sex Differences in Motivation

Chapter:
(p.177) Chapter 10 Sex Differences in Motivation
Source:
Sex Differences in the Brain
Author(s):

Jill B. Becker

Jane R. Taylor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311587.003.0010

This chapter develops the thesis that sexually dimorphic development of the neural systems involved in motivation has evolved due to sex differences in care of young. It proposes that sex differences in the neural systems important for maternal motivation result in sex differences in motivated behaviors in general. In particular, the greater oxytocin projection to the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) in females is hypothesized to play an important role in these sex differences. In addition, there are effects of gonadal hormones that modulate the reward system. Specifically, estradiol enhances the rewarding value of potential targets, while progesterone counteracts the effect of estradiol.

Keywords:   sex differences, maternal motivation, neural systems, oxytocin, nucleus accumbens, gonadal hormones, estradiol

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