Sex Hormones

Sex hormones contribute to neural and behavioral sex differences across the lifespan. Work in the lab focuses on sex hormone exposure during sensitive periods of development, such as prenatal and pubertal development. Dr. Beltz contributes to studies of girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a genetic condition resulting in exposure to male-typical androgens in utero, finding that the girls are masculinized in some behavioral and cognitive domains compared to their unaffected sisters (Beltz, Swanson, & Berenbaum, 2013; Berenbaum, Bryk, & Beltz, 2012). She focuses, however, on studies of  OCindividuals who vary in pubertal status and timing, revealing that boys with early timing have more male-typed cognition than those with late timing, who have higher depressive symptoms due to low perceived masculinity (Beltz, 2018; Beltz & Berenbaum, 2013). She also focuses on menstrual cycle and oral contraceptive studies of endogenous and exogenous ovarian hormones, showing, for instance, that hormones changes during the natural cycle are related to internalizing behavior via individualized brain networks (Beltz, Moser, Zhu, Burt, & Klump, 2018), and that estradiol doses in oral contraceptives are linked to gendered cognition (Beltz, Hampson, & Berenbaum, 2015).