Functional imaging of brain activity in conscious monkeys responding to sexually arousing cues

Craig F. Ferris, Charles T. Snowdon, Jean A. King, Timothy Q. Duong, Toni E. Ziegler, Kamil Ugurbil, Reinhold Ludwig, Nancy J. Schultz-Darken, Ziji Wu, David P. Olson, John M. Sullivan, Pamela L. Tannenbaum, J. Thomas Vaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Olfactory cues can elicit intense emotional responses. This study used fMRI in male common marmoset monkeys to identify brain areas associated with sexual arousal in response to odors of ovulating female monkeys. Under light anesthesia, monkeys were secured in a specially designed restrainer and positioned in a 9.4T magnetic resonance spectrometer. When fully conscious, they were presented with the scents of both ovariectomized and ovulating monkeys. The sexually arousing odors of the ovulating monkeys enhanced signal intensity in the preoptic area and anterior hypothalamus compared to the odors of ovariectomized monkeys. These data corroborate previous findings in monkeys based on invasive electrical lesion and stimulation techniques and demonstrate the feasibility of using non-invasive functional imaging on fully conscious common marmosets to study cue-elicited emotional responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2231-2236
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 20 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Anterior hypothalamus
  • BOLD
  • Common marmoset
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Medial preoptic area
  • Pheromones
  • Sexual motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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