Dr Kathleen Casto (New College of Florida)


More Information

Elise Kalokerinos


Our next MSPS Colloquium is an in-person event featuring a talk from Dr Kathleen Casto from the New College of Florida on Wednesday May 4th starting at 4 pm. The event will be held at the Lowe Lecture Theatre of the Redmond Barry Building, and followed directly by drinks and finger food in the RBB Courtyard at 5 pm. Please see below for a talk title and speaker bio. If you are unable to make the event in person, we’ll be recording the talk, and the recording will be posted on the Colloquium webpage for this event.

Please register at the Eventbrite link and let us know if you will be joining us. Your registration will assist us in following COVID-safe guidelines and providing catering for the in-person event.


Despite the notable benefits of hormonal contraceptive (HC) use for women worldwide, emerging evidence suggests that these commonly used medications could adversely impact some aspects of psychological functioning. Drawing from behavioral endocrinology, neuroscience, and evolutionary-social psychology, I will discuss HCs as mechanistic disruptors of adaptive hormone-behavior coupling within relevant contexts. Focusing mainly on social goal-oriented behavior such as competition and motivation for social status, my research has revealed consistently lower task-persistence in an effort-based competition among HC users compared to naturally-cycling nonusers (albeit with small effect sizes). Subsequent analyses revealed that substantial alterations in hormonal levels and reactivity, as a result of HC use, could explain these effects. My UniMelb collaborators (Khandis Blake and Lindsie Arthur) and I are currently conducting a large, pre-registered follow-up study to attempt to replicate and extend prior results with an explicit focus on testing the underlying steroid hormone processes. I will also briefly discuss 1) my current and future research on neural anatomy differences between HC users and naturally-cycling nonusers in an effort to develop testable models of HC mechanistic effects of hormone action in the brain and, 2) my current and future research on testing individual difference factors in hormonal sensitivity as a moderator of HC and menstrual cycle effects on behavior.

About the speaker

Dr Kathleen Casto is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at New College of Florida with a primary research focus on behavioral neuroendocrinology related to social group dynamics and women's health/wellbeing. She engages in applied field work on performance and group processes in sport with a particular focus on women athletes and hormone-related factors. Her PhD in Psychology (Neuro focus) was completed at Emory University and postdoctoral studies at the University of Oregon (funded by US Army, Pranjal Mehta and Modupe Akinola).

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Please also save the date for our final Semester 1 event, which will be on Wednesday June 1st at 4 pm (in person, followed by drinks) and feature Associate Professor Kristin Gainey (UWA).

The Zoom links to online Colloquiums are sent out via the MSPS School Colloquium mailing list. To be added to this list or for the link to this talk, please email Dr Elise Kalokerinos (elise.kalokerinos@unimelb.edu.au).

Event recording