Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: October 03, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412956253 | Print ISBN: 9781412916707 | Online ISBN: 9781412956253| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Hormones and Behavior
M. C. DeSoto
A hormone is something produced in the body that circulates in the bloodstream and then influences the activity of living cells that are far from where it was produced. Because hormones travel to their target tissue, they are sometimes referred to as signaling molecules. For example, estrogen is produced by the ovaries, but effects the functioning of cells in the heart, uterus, breast, liver, and brain. Any molecule produced in the body that travels to another tissue via the bloodstream for its effect is classified as a hormone. Many hormones affect social behavior, often by directly influencing some aspect of brain function, although there are certainly other routes to influencing behavior. Hormones can only affect tissue that has receptors for them. If there is no receptor for a hormone in the brain, it cannot affect brain function. However, many hormones do have receptors in the brain. In social psychology, some ...