Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Aras Petrulis

Second Advisor

Walter Walthall

Third Advisor

Timothy Bartness

Fourth Advisor

Bradley Cooke


A conserved network of brain regions is responsible for mediating social behavior; however, the chemical nature (GABAergic or glutamatergic) of the connectivity in this network is unknown. One node in this network, the medial amygdala (MA), is known to process social stimuli and facilitates appropriate social responses. We hypothesized that a GABAergic population in the posterior MA is responsible for processing both male and female stimuli. In contrast, we hypothesized that both excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the anterior MeA would discriminate between different stimulus types. We estimated the percentage of GABAergic and glutamatergic MA neurons activated by either salient (female) or less-salient (male) social cues in male Syrian hamsters. A significantly greater percentage of GABAergic neurons responded toall stimulus types in both the anterior MA and the posterodorsal MA, but not in the posteroventral MA, where equivalent percentages of GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons responded to all stimuli.