Sex differences in motivated behaviors in animal models

Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2018 Oct:23:98-102. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2018.04.009. Epub 2018 May 3.


Sex differences exist in the motivation for sexual behavior, food, parental care and motivation to take drugs. There are also sex differences in the likelihood of exhibiting motivational disorders such as anhedonia, depression, addictive behavior, and eating disorders. This brief review summaries recent studies on sex differences in all motivated behaviors in social and non-social contexts, focusing on animal models. We also discuss the roles of gonadal hormones and the nonapeptides (nine amino acid peptides) in modulating sex differences in motivation. We propose that sex differences in the neural mechanisms mediating endogenous motivation for food, sex, partners and care of offspring underlie sex differences in all motivated behaviors.