Neuroendocrinology Pre-conference

Connecting Minds In Social Neuroendocrinology and Evolution Pre conference

Wednesday May 31st, 9am-12pm

Click here for the pre-conference program

Connect with HBES researchers investigating the social influences and effects of hormones in the context of human evolution. We will hear from Drs. Sonia Cavigelli, Pennsylvania State University, and Keith Welker, University of Massachusetts Boston, who will give us an overview of their current research and discuss some issues related to conducting research connecting hormones and social behaviour from an evolutionary perspective. A datablitz session will follow, where six students and/or early career researchers will provide brief research talks, followed by an opportunity to network and receive feedback on their research. All students, post-docs, and early career researchers working in the field of social neuroendocrinology are encouraged to attend this preconference and datablitz session.

A call for datablitz Abstracts will be held separately from that of the main conference. Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2017.

Click here to submit your abstract.


For questions or more information, please contact:

Jaime Palmer-Hague (

Amanda Hahn (


Speakers have been announced!

Dr. Sonia Cavigelli, Pennsylvania State University

Mechanisms of social behavior: Bridging disciplines to understand complex processes

Social behavior is complex and dynamic. Some individuals are reliably more social, aggressive, dominant than others, and individual social profiles can function as traits, with reliable consistency over time. However, social responses can also be highly flexible across different social contexts. It is this stability and flexibility of social behavior that has intrigued and driven me throughout my career. To understand processes that support individual consistency and change, my research has focused on the physiological mechanisms underlying social behavior profiles. By understanding physiological processes, we can understand the development and health consequences of different social traits. I have conducted this work with species that maintain relatively complex social systems (primates and rodents), and I have managed this, and other portions of my career, by reaching out to novel collaborators with expertise outside of my training. For example, colleagues helped me to validate non-invasive fecal steroid measures to monitor neuroendocrine processes as they occur in unperturbed and natural environments, where social behaviors take on their most complex forms. I am indebted to many excellent collaborators and mentors for their help in bridging disciplines, and I continue to seek out collaborations to understand physiological mechanisms of behavioral traits. In my presentation, I will highlight professional decisions that have led to positive, and not so positive, results! I will end with a brief summary of future goals emerging from prior work, with a focus on conducting more integrative work that considers complex physiological networks and extending current work with animals into humans.

Dr. Keith Welker, University of Massachusetts Boston

Measurement, Moderation, and Multiple Paths: Discerning the relationship between testosterone and status

Established theories maintain that testosterone modulates status seeking behaviors. In humans, the study of this relationship has been complicated by several challenges. The first of these challenges includes difficulties in measuring both testosterone, social status, and status-seeking in humans. The second involves multiple pathways to status and mismatches between status seeking motivations and the successful attainment of status. Finally, emerging work suggests that testosterone might influence behavior in different ways depending a variety of personality, social, and cultural factors. Considering these issues and emerging data, I discuss recommendations and tools for advancing theory on how the HPG axis may influence status seeking and social behavior more broadly.