Men and women differ in amygdala response to visual sexual stimuli

  title={Men and women differ in amygdala response to visual sexual stimuli},
  author={Stephan Hamann and Rebecca A. Herman and Carla L Nolan and Kim Wallen},
  journal={Nature Neuroscience},
Men are generally more interested in and responsive to visual sexually arousing stimuli than are women. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show that the amygdala and hypothalamus are more strongly activated in men than in women when viewing identical sexual stimuli. This was true even when women reported greater arousal. Sex differences were specific to the sexual nature of the stimuli, were restricted primarily to limbic regions, and were larger in the left amygdala… 
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Sex Differences in the Responses of the Human Amygdala
  • S. Hamann
  • Psychology, Biology
    The Neuroscientist : a review journal bringing neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry
  • 2005
Current findings from studies of sex differences in human amygdala response during emotion-related activities, such as formation of emotional memories and sexual behavior, are highlighted and how these findings contribute to the understanding of behavioral differences between men and women are considered.
An fMRI Study of Responses to Sexual Stimuli as a Function of Gender and Sensation Seeking: A Preliminary Analysis
The relationship between sexual responsivity, sensation seeking, and sexual behavior is gender specific, and the nature of stimuli used to induce positive mood in imaging and other studies should be carefully considered.
Neural substrates of sexual arousal are not sex dependent
A thorough statistical review of significant neuroimaging studies offers strong quantitative evidence that the neuronal response to visual sexual stimuli, contrary to the widely accepted view, is independent of biological sex.
Accurate sex classification from neural responses to sexual stimuli
It is indicated that visual sexual stimuli evoke discernible brain activity patterns in men and women which may reflect stronger attentional engagement with sexual stimuli in men than women.


Sex differences in the neural basis of emotional memories
Women had significantly more brain regions where activation correlated with both ongoing evaluation of emotional experience and with subsequent memory for the most emotionally arousing pictures, and greater overlap in brain regions sensitive to current emotion and contributing to subsequent memory may be a neural mechanism for emotions to enhance memory more powerfully in women than in men.
Sex-Related Difference in Amygdala Activity during Emotionally Influenced Memory Storage
Results demonstrate a clear gender-related lateralization of amygdala involvement in emotionally influenced memory, and indicate that theories of the neurobiology of emotionally influencing memory must begin to account for the influence of gender.
Neural activation during sexual and competitive arousal in healthy men
Amygdala response to both positively and negatively valenced stimuli
A role for the amygdala in processing emotional stimuli that extends beyond negative and fearful stimuli is demonstrated, and arousal level is clearly demonstrated to modulate the amygdala response.
Areas of brain activation in males and females during viewing of erotic film excerpts
The findings reveal the existence of similarities and dissimilarities in the way the brain of both genders responds to erotic stimuli and suggest that the greater SA generally experienced by men, when viewing erotica, may be related to the functional gender difference found here with respect to the hypothalamus.
Neuroanatomical Correlates of Visually Evoked Sexual Arousal in Human Males
PET identified brain regions whose activation was correlated with visually evoked sexual arousal in males, and activation of some of these areas was positively correlated with plasma testosterone levels.
An fMRI Study of Sex Differences in Regional Activation to a Verbal and a Spatial Task
The results suggest that failure to activate the appropriate hemisphere in regions directly involved in task performance may explain certain sex differences in performance, and extend the principle that bilateral activation in a distributed cognitive system underlies sex Differences in performance.
Conscious and unconscious emotional learning in the human amygdala
The results indicate that the human amygdala can discriminate between stimuli solely on the basis of their acquired behavioural significance, and second, this response is lateralized according to the subjects' level of awareness of the stimuli.
Ecstasy and Agony: Activation of the Human Amygdala in Positive and Negative Emotion
Although the amygdala appears to play a more extensive role in negative emotion, it is involved in positive emotion as well, and the first neuroimaging evidence for a role of the amygdala in positive emotional reactions elicited by visual stimuli is presented.
The human amygdala in social judgment
This investigation into the hypothesis that the human amygdala is required for accurate social judgments of other individuals on the basis of their facial appearance finds three subjects with complete bilateral amygdala damage to judge faces of unfamiliar people with respect to two attributes important in real-life social encounters: approachability and trustworthiness.