Our laboratory investigates the neural and hormonal factors involved in the expression and development of motivated behaviors. Specifically, we are working to better understand the role of the brain, hormones and sensory inputs that contribute to the rewarding nature of mating behavior in female rats.
Hormones shape the brain during development to enable the expression of mature social behaviors in adulthood. We are investigating the interactions between hormones and the brain that occur during puberty in female rats that are necessary for adult social interactions. To examine these questions, we combine behavioral observation and classical conditioning procedures with pharmacological and neuroanatomical techniques.