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Heather Hoffmann


Heather Hoffmann

Robert M. & Katherine Arnold Seeley Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Robert M. & Katherine Arnold Seeley Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology

Heather HoffmanGeneral Interests

"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. I have examined the role of learning processes and alcohol use as triggers for sexual compulsivity and sexual risk taking and olfactory sexual arousal contagion (i.e., whether we can perceive sexual arousal from body odor). 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.

Teaching Interests
Human sexuality, behavioral pharmacology, affective neuroscience.

Selected Professional Accomplishments


  • Philip Green Wright - Lombard Prize for Distinguished Teaching (2017 and 1991)
  • President of International Academy of Sex Research (2015-2016)
  • Executive board for the International Academy of Sex Research (2014-2017)
  • Knox Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant: The aroma of sexual arousal, (2014)
  • R21 research grant from NIH (2009-2011) The role of learning and alcohol in compulsivity and risk taking.

*Denotes Knox student

Hoffmann, H. (2019). The aroma of arousal: Effects of menstrual cycle phase and women’s sexual arousal state on men’s responsiveness to women’s body odor. Biological Psychology, 142, 54-61, doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.01.012

"Situating human sexual conditioning." Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-1030-5, 2017.

"What does sexual responsiveness to one's nonpreferred sex mean?" (with Safron, A.) Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, 1199-1202, doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-0954-0, 2017.

Janssen, E. J., Hoffmann, H., Goodrich, D. C., & Wilson, M., " The effects of alcohol on self-regulation of sexual arousal in sexually compulsive men who have sex with men," (MSM), Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 23 (2016): 313-323.

"The effects of alcohol on self-regulation of sexual arousal in sexually compulsive men who have sex with men (MSM)" (with Janssen, E. J., Goodrich, D. C., & Wilson, M.*). Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 23, 313-323, 2016.

"A nutritional formulation for cognitive performance in Mild Cognitive Impairment: a placebo-controlled trial with an open-label extension" (with Remington, R., Lortie, J.J.*, Page, R., Morrell, C. & Shea, T.B.). Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 48, 591-595, 2015. 

"The role of classical conditioning in sexual compulsivity: A pilot study," (with Goodrich, D., Wilson, M ('09). & Janseen, E.) Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 21(2014): 75-91.

"Intensity-dependent effects of voluntary exercise on memory task performance in rats," (with Clark, R. ('12). Impulse 10 (2014).

"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.

"Lack of Correlation of WAIS Digit Span with Clox 1 and the Dementia Rating Scale in MCI," (with Lortie, J. J., '12, Remington, R., and Shea, T.B.). International Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2012:829743.

"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.

"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.

"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 aroma of arousal: Potential evidence for olfactory sexual arousal contagion. International Academy of Sex Research. Charleston, S.C. July 2017.

Sensing sex: Stimulating and signaling sexual arousal. Science and Cocktails, Copenhagen, Denmark. Available Online. November, 2016.

Situating Human Sexual Conditioning. Presidential Address, International Academy of Sex Research, Malmö, Sweden, June 2016.

The Aroma of Sexual Arousal. The Field Museum, Chicago, IL, June 2016. 

The effect of fear on conditioned sexual
arousal in college-aged women (with Corpodean, F.*). International Academy of Sex Research. Malmö, Sweden, June 2016.

"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.

Campus & Community Involvement

  • Advisor for Sigma Chi fraternity (2011-present)
  • Liaison for Self Designed majors (Fall 2013-present)
  • 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

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