Reposted from five years ago. A 2015 worldwide human study Hunger promotes acquisition of nonfood objects found that people’s current degree of hungriness affected their propensity to acquire nonfood items. The researchers admitted that they didn’t demonstrate cause and effect with the five experiments they performed, although the findings had merit. News articles poked good-natured … Continue reading Do early experiences of hunger affect our behavior, thoughts, and feelings today?
This 2018 Baltimore/Montreal rodent study found: “If sexually naïve females have their formative sexually rewarding experiences paired with the same male, they will recognize that male and display mate-guarding behavior towards him in the presence of a female competitor. Female rats that display mate-guarding behavior also show enhanced activation of oxytocin and vasopressin neurons in … Continue reading Epigenetic factors affecting female rat sexual behavior
This 2018 New York rodent study not only wasted resources but also speciously attempted to extrapolate animal study findings to humans: “While it is clear that behavioral experience modulates epigenetic profiles, it is less evident how the nature of that experience influences outcomes and whether epigenetic/genetic “biomarkers” could be extracted to classify different types of … Continue reading Flawed epigenetic measurements of behavioral experiences
This 2018 McGill paper reviewed findings from animal and human studies on the relationships between drug-seeking behavior and epigenetic DNA methylation: “Although there is an increasing line of evidence from preclinical models of addiction, there are only a few human studies that systematically assessed DNA methylation in addiction. Most of the studies were done on … Continue reading Addictive behavior and epigenetic DNA methylation
This 2018 French/Italian/Swiss rodent study was an extension of the work done by the group of researchers who performed Prenatal stress produces offspring who as adults have cognitive, emotional, and memory deficiencies and Treating prenatal stress-related disorders with an oxytocin receptor agonist: “Reduction of maternal behavior [nursing behavior, grooming, licking, carrying pups] was predictive of … Continue reading The lifelong impact of maternal postpartum behavior
This 2015 Oxford human study of altruism found: “Division of people into distinct social types relies on the assumption that an individual’s decisions in public-goods games can be used to accurately measure their social preferences. Specifically, that greater contributions to the cooperative project in the game reflect a greater valuing of the welfare of others, … Continue reading Confusion may be misinterpreted as altruism and prosocial behavior
This 2015 Zurich human review addressed: “A remarkable lack of discussion on the meaning and interpretation of frequently used hormone ratios. The interpretation of hormone ratios is complicated and in many cases not sufficiently supported from a theoretical point of view. Based on the assumption that the balance between two interdependent hormones determines their eventual … Continue reading Are hormone ratios useful in explaining health? Behavior? Neurobiology? Anything?
This 2015 Canadian rodent study found: “Chronic social defeat induced behavioral changes that were associated with reduced richness and diversity of the gut microbial community. The degree of deficits in social, but not exploratory behavior was correlated with group differences between the microbial community profile. Defeated mice also exhibited reduced abundance of pathways involved in … Continue reading Stress consequences on gut bacteria, behavior, immune system, and neurologic function
This 2015 US/Canadian human study of people ages 6 to 22 years found: “Testosterone-specific associations between amygdala volume and key prefrontal areas involved in emotional regulation and impulse control: Testosterone-specific modulation of the covariance between the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC); A significant relationship between amygdala-mPFC covariance and levels of aggression; and Mediation effects … Continue reading A problematic study of testosterone’s influence on behavior and brain measurements
This 2016 Italian human review considered the lower brain’s contributions to an individual’s behavior and temperament: “In evidencing associations between personality factors and neurobiological measures, it seems evident that the cerebellum has not been up to now thought as having a key role in personality. Cerebellar volumes correlate positively with novelty seeking scores and negatively … Continue reading The cerebellum’s role in human behavior and emotions
This 2015 German human study found: “15-mo-old infants exposed to stress thereafter kept performing a previously effective action, even after the action suddenly became ineffective. Infants in a no-stress control group flexibly adjusted their behavior by disengaging from the newly ineffective action in favor of exploring an alternative action. This finding demonstrates that stress impairs … Continue reading Inflexible behavior may be a byproduct of stress
This 2015 Swedish human study, performed at the institution that awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, found: “Pain responses can be shaped by learning that takes place outside conscious awareness.” Images of neutral male faces were used as conditioning stimuli which the subjects were trained to associate with levels of pain. The concluding … Continue reading Unconscious stimuli have a pervasive effect on our brain function and behavior
This 2015 La Jolla rodent study found that an inhibitory gene affected alcohol binging behavior: “Our study reveals the behavioral impact of this cellular effect, whereby the level of GIRK3 [the gene] expression in the VTA [ventral tegmental area] tunes ethanol intake under binge-type conditions: the more GIRK3, the less ethanol drinking.” GIRK3-silenced mice still … Continue reading An inhibitory gene that affects alcohol binge behavior
This 2015 review cited 143 studies to tie together findings in epigenetic chemistry and behavioral neuroscience. In addition to studies I’ve previously curated, other research included: a 2012 study which completely abolished mouse maternal behavior by silencing a gene encoding an estrogen receptor; a 2012 study which found that stress-induced changes in the rat hippocampus … Continue reading Epigenetic changes in the developing brain change behavior
I’ll quote a few sections of this 2014 summary of 111 studies concerning stress, including the authors’ research: “The brain is the central organ of stress and adaptation to stressors because: It not only perceives what is threatening or potentially threatening and initiates behavioral and physiological responses to those challenges, But also is a target … Continue reading Stress in early life can alter physiology and behavior across the entire lifespan