HAP-21806 Behavioural Endocrinology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. KJ Teerds
Lecturer(s)dr. KJ Teerds
dr. ir. B Beerda
dr. CA Hinde
Examiner(s)dr. KJ Teerds
prof. dr. ir. J Keijer

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

EZO-10306 Human and Animal Biology I and HAP-20306 Human and Animal Biology, part 2.


Behavioral endocrinology refers to genetic, molecular, cellular, psychological, and social influences on behaviour. This course reviews the current state of knowledge at the interfaces of hormones and behaviour in mammals. The course Behavioural Endocrinology consists of 4 themes, namely:
1. Introduction to behavioural endocrinology;
2. Reproduction;
3. Regulation of homeostasis;
4. Stress, social behaviour and learning.
The course addresses basic principles of behaviour and endocrinology, but especially outlines the interrelationships of hormones, behaviour and nervous systems. Contemporary knowledge is presented from diverse perspectives taking into account the historical background and findings that laid the foundations for modern studies of behavioral endocrinology.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to:
- interpret the importance of hormones and behavioural influences for an optimal functioning of the organism, and;
- have sufficient discernment to be able to interpret the importance of deviations;
- be able to correctly use the scientific terminology in the field of behaviour and endocrinology.
In more detail students understand/are able to apply:
- the regulatory mechanisms underlying the interactions between hormones and behaviour;
- the four different levels of analysis of behavioural questions;
- the basic principles of the regulation of the function of endocrine organs;
- how male germ cells are formed and the importance of cell-cell interactions and hormones in this process;
- the role of hormones in the process of follicular development and oocyte maturation;
- the organizational and activating effects of gonadal hormones in relation to male and female reproductive behaviour and parental care;
- the concepts of different mating strategies;
- the types and control of the biological clocks and rhythms;
- the relation between biological clocks and seasonal rhythms;
- the control of feed intake in relation to feeding behaviour and motivation;
- the physiological effects of the stress response and environmental factors that influence this response;
- the behavioural endocrinology of social behaviour, stress and learning and to conceptualize this knowledge in relation to adaptation;
- the environmental influences on hormonal correlates of social behaviour, stress and learning.


- lectures;
- practicals;
- tutorials.


The acquired knowledge will be tested by an exam that consists of 40 multiple-choice questions (weight approximately 2/5) and 6 to 10 essay questions (weight approximately 3/5).


An Introduction to Behavioral Endocrinology (5th edition). Randy J. Nelson, Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, Massachusetts. Further digital handouts, lecture notes and study manual.

Compulsory for: BBIBiologyBScC: Human and Animal Health Biology6WD
BASAnimal SciencesBScB: Biological Functioning of Animals6WD