Have you ever wondered how your body responds automatically to situations such as aggression? The response is as a result of the interaction between hormones and behavior. In this article, I will be providing an overview of the relationship between hormones and behavior.
As much as you can learn and acquire new behaviors, they are also affected by hormones. Hormone concentration, on the other hand, is sometimes also influenced by actions. The interaction between the two is called behavioral endocrinology.
Hormones are chemical agents that travel in the blood to the nervous system to regulate the way someone acts in situations such as mating and anxiety. Specialized glands called endocrine glands secrete these hormones. Hormones that are in charge of the physiological processes influence the behaviors linked to these processes.
Hormones change the expression of genes, then influence behavior by increasing the probability that specific reactions occur under the control of a precise catalyst. Hormones achieve this by controlling an individual’s central integrator, sensory system, and peripheral effector.
There are four categories of hormones, but a single endocrine gland secretes only one type. These categories are; peptides or proteins, steroids, monoamines, and lipid-related hormones, each causing specific responses under different circumstances..
The above types of hormones are not similar. They differ in various useful features such as their mode of release, how they move in blood, location of their target tissue receptors, and the way of interaction, which leads to biological response.
Major hormones that influence behavior.
Peptide and protein hormones.
- Vasopressin-secreted by the pituitary glands. Collaborates with the kidney to increase water re-absorption hence reducing water loss from the body. It also narrows the blood vessels to increase blood pressure.
- Oxytocin– secreted into the blood by the posterior pituitary glands. Responsible for the contraction of the uterus during childbirth. It is also essential in other human behaviors such as sexual arousal, anxiety, and bonding.
- Prolactin-It is responsible for milk production during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Thyroxine-Produced by the thyroid gland. It is responsible for controlling metabolic rate, brain development, bone maintenance, and muscle control.
- Estradiol-Is a female sex hormone that treats symptoms of menopause, virginal changes, and bone loss in menopausal women.
- Testosterone-Secreted by the testicles and is responsible for sperm production. It is also responsible for sex drive in men.
- Cortisol– It is responsible for controlling processes of metabolism and the immune response. It also plays the role of managing stress.
How hormones influence behavior.
Three interactive components make up the system of behavior. These components are; the central nervous system, sensory system, and effectors, e.g., muscles.
The hormones colonize these components such that they can draw out a precise response in a given social situation under the influence of specific stimuli. For example, testosterone and estradiol hormones are responsible for gamete maturation but also promote mating behavior.
How behavior influence hormones.
The behavior resulting from the body response to a certain stimuli affects hormone concentration. For example, in a competition, testosterone level increases in winners and decreases in losers.
Therefore, the response of the body in a particular situation is as a result of interaction between hormones and behavior.
I hope this article was helpful.