Behavioral Neuroendocrinology is the study of hormones, brain, and behavior. Here at the UB Behavioral Neuroendocrinology lab, we study how hormones and the brain influence adolescent social development, with a focus on how males and females differ during this critical life stage.
Adolescence is an exciting time! Alongside puberty, adolescents undergo marked development in cognitive, social, and emotional skills. But it is also a time of increased vulnerability to mental health disorders: 50% of adolescents meet the criteria for a mental health disorder; in 22% the impairment is severe1. Many of these disorders are more common or more severe in one sex than the other. What is responsible for these adolescent behavioral changes? Why is this a time of increased vulnerability to mental health disorders? And what is responsible for the differences between adolescent boys and girls? To get at these questions, we study social behaviors (e.g., juvenile social play, ultrasonic vocalizations) in adolescent animals.
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1Merikangas et al. 2010 J Am Chil Adolesc Psychiatry 49(10):980-989