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Lecture 7

Lec7Maternal Behavior.docx

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Alison Fleming

Maternal Behavior Sexual behavior is very plastic. Environmental factors influence whether innate behaviors occur. Teen mothers (prefrontal cortex isn't fully developed -> involved in cognitive flexibility, attention, working memory, planning), or highly stressed females, have a hard time mothering. Parenting depends on culture -> what is considered harsh in north American culture may not be looked at like that in other cultures.  But no response to basic needs of offspring generally leads to negative consequences Mother rat doesn’t satiate when retrieving. See a lot of close contact, and communication, in new mothers.  Absence of eye contact from baby to mother can lead to autism and other disorders Hormones that regulate sexual behavior also regulate maternal behavior. Progesterone rises during pregnancy, decreases right before birth. Hormonal profile at end of pregnancy leads to maternal behavior. Graph: estrogen + progesterone, progesterone, cholesterol (hormone treatment) vs. latency (in days); legend: retrieval, licking, lact post, hovering, nest-building Animals can be maternal without hormones -> brain can stimulated to be motherly but hormones make stimulation much quicker, sensitive to pups -> many roots to the same end (sensory vs. hormonal). If you take away young from mother rat right at birth, responsiveness declines very rapidly -> humans mothers in hospitals that were separated from their babies, had a hard time being maternal and nursing. Even though new mothers bar-press for pups whereas virgins do not, bar-press for food is much higher. Ice cream containers with baby t-shirts, baby urine, baby feces, spice, or hand cream.  t-shirt: new mothers very attracted vs. non-mothers Pregnancy, 1 month, 3 months, 16 months (post-partum) vs. positive/negative statements (0-4) graph with husbands. New mothers are aggressive -> protects young.  Intruder (of the same species) will be attacked.  If mother is i
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