Professor and Chair of Psychology
"I am doing work on human sexual psychophysiology. I am interested in the origins of patterns of sexual attraction and sexual arousal, in other words what turns people on and why. Most recently I have been looking at the role of learning processes and alcohol use as triggers for sexual compulsivity and sexual risk taking. I also have an animal lab that is set up to look at the neurochemical correlates of behavior. My original interest had been in developmental differences in learning in rats and the role of monoamine and neuropeptide transmitters in such ontogenetic differences. Students in this lab also work on a broader range of projects, examining how various drugs affect behavior, many focusing on drugs of abuse. Both of these areas of research involve inter- and intra- departmental cooperation, i.e., I have worked with other psychology and neuroscience faculty and students from the biology, biochemistry, and the chemistry departments."
Years at Knox: 1987 to Present
Ph.D., Psychology, 1989, State University of New York-Binghamton.
M.A., Psychology, 1986, State University of New York-Binghamton.
B.A., Psychology, 1983, Lafayette College.
Human sexuality, behavioral pharmacology, affective neuroscience, gay and lesbian identities.
Selected Professional Accomplishments
R21 research grant from NIH (2009-2011) The role of learning and alcohol in compulsivity and risk taking.
Exceptional Achievement Award, Knox College, 2003 and 2006.
Philip Green Wright-Lombard College Prize for Distinguished Teaching, 1991.
Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality grant recipient.
*Denotes Knox student
"The Relationship Between Oral Contraceptive Use and Sensitivity to Olfactory Stimuli." Renfro, K. J.*, & Hoffmann, H. Hormones and Behavior 63 (2013): 491-496. doi: 1 0.1016/j.yhbeh.2013.01.001.
"Field conditioning of sexual arousal in humans." Hoffmann, H., Peterson, K.,* & Garner, H.* (2012). Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology 2 (2012): 17336, doi: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17336.
Introductory Editorial to 'The Neuroscience and Evolutionary Origins of Sexual Learning.' Hoffmann, H. & Safron, A. (2012). Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 2012, 2 (2012): 17415, doi: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17415.
"Considering the role of conditioning in sexual orientation." Archives of Sexual Behavior 41 (2012): 63-72.
"Hot and bothered: Classical conditioning of sexual incentives in humans." In Schachtman , T.R., & Reilly, S. (Eds.), Associative Learning and Conditioning Theory: Human and Non-Human Applications. Oxford University Press, 2011.
"The Effects of Sex and Sexual Orientation on Fluctuating Asymmetry." Co-authored with *S.S. Miller, and B. Mustanski. Archives of Sexual Behavior 37 (2008): 150-157.
"The Role of Classical Conditioning in Sexual Arousal." Edited by E. Janssen. The Psychophysiology of Sex. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2007.
"The Geographic Distribution of Big Five Personality Traits: Patterns and Profiles of Human Self-Description Across 56 Nations." Co-authored with D.P. Schmitt. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 38 (2007): 173-212.
"Effects of varying awareness and biological relevance of the conditioned stimulus." Co-authored with E. Janssen and *S.L. Turner. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2004.
"The effects of alcohol on self-regulation of sexual arousal in sexually compulsive men." Janssen E., Hoffmann, H., Goodrich, D., & Wilson, M. R.* Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Houston, Texas, 2011.
"Efficacy of a Nutriceutical Formulation on Cognitive Performance and Function in MCI and AD." Remington, R., Shea, T.B., Bechtel, C., Lortie, J. J*., Hoffmann, H., Dosanjh, L, Fishman, P., &
Samar, A. 2nd Annual Clinical & Translational Science Research Retreat, University of Massachusetts, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, 2011.
"The role of conditioning in sexual compulsivity and risk taking." Hoffmann, H., Janssen, E., Wilson, M. R.*, & Goodrich, D. International Academy for Sex Research. Los Angeles, California, 2011.
"Sexiness as a musical emotion and a possible correlation between music tempo and the central pattern generators of the human body." Bashwiner, D. & Hoffmann, H. Neuroscience and Music IV, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2011.
"Learning Processes and Sexual Preference." The Puzzle of Sexual Orientation Workshop: What Is It and How Does It Work? University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, 2010.
"Sexual Conditioning and Awareness." International Academy of Sex Research, Prague, Czech Republic, 2010.
"Field conditioning of sexual arousal in humans." Co-authored with *K. Peterson, K & *H. Garner, International Academy of Sex Research, San Juan, Puerto Rico. August, 2009.
"Olfactory/Phermonal Input and Human Female Proceptive Sexual Behaviors/Preferences." With L. Kelahan, J. V. Kohl, Paper, Society for Neuroscience, Washington, D.C., 2008.
"Turned off with the lights on: Factors mediating the relationship between body image spectatoring and sexual functioning among college women." With *A. Oscharoff. International Academy of Sex Research, Vancouver, Canada, 2007.
Campus & Community Involvement
Chair of Psychology Program.
Faculty Advisor for Students' Health Advocacy Group (SHAG).
Knox College, Grand Marshal.
Acting Associate Dean of the College.
Research Fellow at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Indiana University.
Member, Animal Care and Use Committee.
President of the Board for Family Planning of Western Illinois.
What Students Say
"The energy and enthusiasm Professor Hoffmann brings to the classroom is immeasurable. Her obvious interest in the material is reflected in her fast-paced and engrossing lectures. Lectures are never strictly textbook-Heather relays valuable information from several creative and perhaps even unorthodox sources. She always asks questions that encourage the class to question concepts and contemplate their implications."
-Pamela Skoubis, Chemistry and Psychology Major