BIOLOGY 321 Lecture Notes - Lecture 19: Penile Plethysmograph, Chemical Castration, American Civil Liberties Union

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26 Mar 2017
Argument for Central Effects of hormones
- Ways to eliminate T:
o Castration
o Clinical populations
o Antiandrogens, GNRH antagonists, etc.
I. Castration in Humans
a. History as Rx for sex crimes (and punishment)
i. Chemical castration presented as an alternative to life-long imprisonment/surgical
castration (although can be overcome by steroids)
ii. ACLU argues chemical castration is cruel and unusual although consent by the
individual is REQUIRED (also begin with assumption that it’s a punishment)
iii. Many might volunteer to be castrated (chemically or surgically) because their life has
fallen apart and they cannot control urges
b. Surgical castration for sex crimes study
i. Heim, (1981), n=39, looks at these castrated volunteers 4 years post castration
ii. Retrospective (asks about past behavior, pre-castration), self-reported
iii. Looked at masturbation and intercourse frequency
1. Masturbation: 87% 3% (<1-3x/wk)
2. Intercourse: 64% 18%
iv. Would think intercourse would be not reported at all, as a tendency to over-emphasize
the effectiveness of the treatment
v. Sex requires 2 partners, masturbation is just one, may represent sexual desire
vi. Conclusion: stronger effect of castration on desire than on ability
c. Castration only effects certain aspects of sexual behavior and sexuality more or less, not
independent of environment
d. Castration of male guinea pigs
i. Grunt & Young (1953), n = 3
ii. Natural variation in how much they engage in sex pre-op, but post-op they reached
the same bottom level
iii. When hormones were reintroduced, saw return of sexual behavior in same array
(some with high drive, some with low drive)
iv. Doubling the dosage of androgens did not influence behavior frequency
1. Hormone levels do not predict or determine behavior in a dose-dependent way
2. Hormone interaction also influenced by learning and memory, previous
e. Social standing and testosterone Sapolsky 1997 influences how different males respond
to castration
i. Higher ranking = slower the effects of castration will be = more likely T replacement
will bring return of function
ii. When primates engage in a fight, they may both have T higher than baseline, the
winner will have higher T post-fight and loser will have lower T post-fight
iii. Important point: behavior and hormones have a BIDIRECTIONAL relationship
they each impact each other
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