Abstract and Keywords
Following the invention of the hormonal contraceptive pill in the mid-20th century, there has been a rise in exogenous hormone use worldwide. Across the lifespan, many women will utilize synthetic hormones in the form of hormonal contraceptives and/or hormone replacement therapy. It is estimated that 100 million women worldwide use combined oral contraceptives, whereas 20 million women worldwide use hormone replacement therapy. Although extensive research has been done investigating the health side effects of these synthetic hormones, relatively little is known about their potential cognitive and behavioral consequences. This chapter reviews knowledge regarding the potential impact of these synthetic hormones on women’s psychology. Much of this work derives from the field of evolutionary psychology, which considers potential adaptive functions of behavior and their underlying mechanisms. This chapter emphasizes the need for randomized within-subject clinical trials to better understand the true causal effects they may have on women’s behavior.
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