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Review
, 21 (2), 125-136

How Oral Contraceptives Impact Social-Emotional Behavior and Brain Function

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Review

How Oral Contraceptives Impact Social-Emotional Behavior and Brain Function

Estrella R Montoya et al. Trends Cogn Sci.

Abstract

Millions of women worldwide use oral contraceptives ('the pill'; OCs), often starting at a pubertal age when their brains are in a crucial developmental stage. Research into the social-emotional effects of OCs is of utmost importance. In this review, we provide an overview of studies that have emerged over the past decade investigating how OCs, and their main ingredients estradiol (E) and progesterone (P), influence social-emotional behaviors and underlying brain functions. Based on this overview, we present a heuristic model that postulates that OCs modulate core social-emotional behaviors and brain systems. Research domains and challenges for the future, as well as implications, are discussed.

Keywords: emotion; estradiol; fMRI; progesterone; reward; social behavior.

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