Elizabeth Adkins-Regan is a biological psychologist, animal behaviorist, and behavioral neuroendocrinologist (a member of both the Department of Psychology and the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior).  She is interested in hormonal and neural mechanisms underlying the social behavior and social relationships of animals, especially birds. What makes her research and expertise relevant to the proposal theme is her current focus on the avian analogs of some of the human phenomena encompassed by the proposal theme. These include sexual partnerships (not only those between males and females, but also those between males or between females), mate fidelity, and the influence of adult male presence on juvenile development.  She does experimental work testing hypotheses about (a) the formation and maintenance of male-female pairbonds in birds that form pairs that last for the life of the birds, (b) factors influencing matings with extra-pair birds, (c) developmental processes (including adult male presence) responsible for preferences for pairing with opposite- or same-sex birds, (d) processes responsible for the developmental shift in the attachment objects of juveniles from the family members to potential pairing partners, and (e) hormonal stress responses to separation of a pair and their role in preventing “divorce.” Humans are but one animal species. Many human behaviors and tendencies are not unique but are found elsewhere in the animal world. The richest and deepest understanding of humans includes an appreciation for this broader biological context. Some of the conceptual tools that have led to insights about animal relationships might be useful for thinking about humans. Some hypotheses about humans (for example, those that attempt to explain diversity in human sexual orientation by positing biological factors, or those that examine stress endocrinology in relation to relationship decisions) can be informed by experimental research with animals.

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Contact
er12@cornell.edu
607-255-6304
218 Uris Hall 

See Elizabeth Adkins-Regan’s lab/research program page.