hormones

Muro de incomprensión

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Each month many women experience an ovulatory cycle that regulates fertility. Whereas research finds that this cycle influences women’s mating preferences, we propose that it might also change women’s political and religious views. Building on theory suggesting that political and religious orientation are linked to reproductive goals, we tested how fertility influenced women’s politics, religiosity, and voting in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. In two studies with large and diverse samples, ovulation had drastically different effects on single versus married women. Ovulation led single women to become more liberal, less religious, and more likely to vote for Barack Obama. In contrast, ovulation led married women to become more conservative, more religious, and more likely to vote for Mitt Romney. In addition, ovulatory- induced changes in political orientation mediated women’s voting behavior. Overall, the ovulatory cycle not only influences women’s politics, but appears to do so differently for single versus married women.

{ Psychological Science | PDF }

The human mind does not involve an adequate knowledge of the parts composing the human body

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The microbiome — the kilogram of microbes that each of us carries around — has been shown to be involved in everything from obesity and type 2 diabetes to behaviour and sexual preferences. The composition and effects of the microbiome are very active areas of research, producing results which have challenged the way we think about the evolution and interactions of organisms, including ourselves. In a paper recently published in the journal Science, researchers showed for the first time that the make up of the microbiome differs between the sexes, linking these differences to changes in hormone levels and disease resistance. […]

When female mice were given a testosterone inhibitor along with the bacteria from male mice, the rate of diabetes returned to normal.

“It was completely unexpected to find that the sex of an animal determines aspects of their gut microbe composition, that these microbes affect sex hormone levels, and that the hormones in turn regulate an immune-mediated disease,” said Dr. Danska.

{ Inspiring Science | Continue reading }

photo { Jackie Hardt }

Resist. Your efforts will be rewarded.

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Recent experimental psychology […] suggests that the best leaders — both male and female — seem to have relatively high testosterone, which is linked to decreased fear and increased tolerance for risk and desire to compete, and low cortisol, which is linked to decreased anxiety. Effective leadership is associated with hormone levels, and with this hormone profile, leaders are confident and willing to take risks, but not overly threatened or reactive to stressors. [..]

It turns out these two hormones, testosterone and cortisol, are very touchy, sensitive to social and physical cues and fluctuating a great deal over the course of a single day. As Sandberg mentioned in her book, our research shows that people can change their own hormone levels and behaviors, by “faking it” — by “power posing,” or adopting expansive, open nonverbal postures that are strongly associated with power and dominance across the animal kingdom (imagine standing with hands on hips and feet spread, like Wonder Woman). By holding these postures for just two minutes before entering a high-stress situation, people (both men and women) can increase their testosterone by about 20% and decrease their cortisol by about 25%.

{ Harvard Business Review | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }

In blue dungarees, stands up in the gallery, holding in each hand an orange citron

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The researchers also found that men require a slightly longer wavelength to see the same hue as women; an object that women experience as orange will look slightly more yellowish to men, while green will look more blue-green to men.

This last part doesn’t confer an advantage on either sex, but it does demonstrate, Abramov says, that “the nervous system that deals with color cannot be wired in the exact same way in males as in females.” He believes the answer lies in testosterone and other androgens.

{ Smithsonian | Continue reading }

photo { Nicholas Nixon }

‘Love like you’ve never been hurt.’ –Mark Twain

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Explicit communication involves the deliberate, conscious choosing of words and signals to convey a specific message to a recipient or target audience. […] Much of human communication is also implicit, and occurs subconsciously without overt individual attention. Examples include nonverbal communication and subconscious facial expressions, which have been argued to contribute significantly to human communication and understanding. […] Additionally, recent studies conducted by evolutionary psychologists and biologists have revealed that other animals, including humans, may also communicate information implicitly via the production and detection of chemical olfactory cues. Of specific interest to evolutionary psychologists has been the investigation of human chemical cues indicating female reproductive status. These subliminally perceived chemical cues (odors) are often referred to as pheromones.

For two decades, psychologists studying ovulation have successfully employed a series of “T-shirt studies” supporting the hypothesis that men can detect when a woman is most fertile based on olfactory detection of ovulatory cues. However, it is not known whether the ability to detect female fertility is primarily a function of biological sex, sexual orientation, or a combination of both.

Using methodologies from previous T-shirt studies, we asked women not using hormonal contraceptives to wear a T-shirt for three consecutive nights during their follicular (ovulatory) and luteal (non-ovulatory) phases. Male and female participants of differing sexual orientations then rated the T-shirts based on intensity, pleasantness, and sexiness.

Heterosexual males were the only group to rate the follicular T-shirts as more pleasant and sexy than the luteal T-shirts. Near-significant trends also indicated that heterosexual men and non-heterosexual women consistently ranked the T-shirts, regardless of menstrual stage, to be more intense, pleasant, and sexy than did non-heterosexual men and heterosexual women.

{ Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology | PDF }

Let’s hear the time. The treble.

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Problem #1: Inability to Focus

“The average office worker changes windows [on her computer] 37 times an hour,” Headspace’s head of research Nick Begley says in a meditation tutorial. According to Begley, when your mind changes gears that rapidly, part of your brain is still engaged in the previous task and you don’t have all of the attention and resources necessary to concentrate on the current task. […]

Problem #2: Stress

When people get stressed, there is a part of the brain called the amygdala that fires up the “fight or flight” part of the nervous system that helps you make quick, impulsive decisions. “It signals to our hormonal system to secrete adrenaline and cortisol and increases our heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, so we can escape this immediate physical danger,” says Begley. The problem arises when there is no immediate physical danger–when, say, you’ve forgotten to hit “save” on an important document and your computer crashes, or you arrive unprepared for an important business meeting. […]

The Solution

Refreshing your brain is easier than you think. Here’s the first and only step: Do nothing. […] 10 minutes each day to quiet your mind. Practice observing thoughts and anxieties without passing judgment–simply experience them.

{ Inc. | Continue reading }

photo { Philip Lorca Dicorcia }

The warmth of her couched body rose on the air, mingling with the fragrance of the tea she poured

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The more alcoholic drinks people consume, the more attractive they perceive themselves to be. […]

First, women with high levels of estrogen feel prettier, and second, smoking causes a lowered presence of estrogen in your body. So if you’re a female smoker and want to feel more attractive, boost your estrogen levels and stop smoking. Additionally this hormone helps maintain your female features and is vital to your body’s fertility.

{ United Academics | Continue reading }

photo { Bill Brandt }

Mixed up things especially about the body and the insides

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Over the second half of the 20th century, the average age for girls to begin breast development has dropped by a year or more in the industrialized world. And the age of first menstruation, generally around 12, has advanced by a matter of months. Hispanic and black girls may be experiencing an age shift much more pronounced. […]

“If you basically say that the onset of puberty has a bell-shaped distribution, it seems to many of us the whole curve is shifting to the left,” says Paul Kaplowitz, chief of the division of endocrinology and diabetes at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. More girls, he says, are starting puberty before age 8, putting them at “the lower end of the new normal range.”

Researchers are now turning their attention to what could be driving the trend. Many scientists suspect that younger puberty is a consequence of an epidemic of childhood obesity, citing studies that find development closely tied to the accumulation of body fat. But there are other possibilities, including the presence of environmental chemicals that can mimic the biological properties of estrogen, and psychological and social stressors that might alter the hormonal makeup of a young body.

{ ScienceNews | Continue reading }

If I only had a ring with the stone for my month a nice aquamarine

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Ovulation, Female Competition, and Product Choice: Hormonal Influences on Consumer Behavior

Recent research shows that women experience nonconscious shifts across different phases of the monthly ovulatory cycle. For example, women at peak fertility (near ovulation) are attracted to different kinds of men and show increased desire to attend social gatherings. Building on the evolutionary logic behind such effects, we examined how, why, and when hormonal fluctuations associated with ovulation influenced women’s product choices. In three experiments, we show that at peak fertility women nonconsciously choose products that enhance appearance (e.g., choosing sexy rather than more conservative clothing). This hormonally regulated effect appears to be driven by a desire to outdo attractive rival women. Consequently, minimizing the salience of attractive women who are potential rivals sup- presses the ovulatory effect on product choice. This research provides some of the first evidence of how, why, and when consumer behavior is influenced by hormonal factors.

Ovulation Leads Women to Perceive Sexy Cads as Good Dads

Why do some women pursue relationships with men who are attractive, dominant, and charming but who do not want to be in relationships—the prototypical sexy cad? Previous research shows that women have an increased desire for such men when they are ovulating, but it is unclear why ovulating women would think it is wise to pursue men who may be unfaithful and could desert them. […] Ovulating women perceive that sexy cads would be good fathers to their own children but not to the children of other women.

{ Improbable Research | Links to PDFs }

Let me know what I can can can can do for you, if you don’t speak boy you know you won’t none

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Researchers have discovered that a form of oxytocin — the hormone responsible for making humans fall in love — has a similar effect on fish, suggesting it is a key regulator of social behavior that has evolved and endured since ancient times.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

art { Francisco Castro }

Reserection

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Castration had a huge effect on the lifespans of Korean men, according to an analysis of hundreds of years of eunuch “family” records.

They lived up to 19 years longer than uncastrated men from the same social class and even outlived members of the royal family.

The researchers believe the findings show male hormones shorten life expectancy.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

What’s up with your bad breath onion rings

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When Wallace Craig dissected the feeding behavior of doves, his experimental animal of choice, he discovered the existence of two distinct phases - an appetitive and a consummatory phase. He defined appetite as “a state of agitation”, which continues until food is presented, whereupon phase 2 begins. That’s the phase you and I call eating. It’s followed by a third phase of relative rest, which Craig called the state of satisfaction. You are forgiven if you now ask “what science nugget could possibly be hidden in this platitude.” But the best-hidden gems are often those, which are in plain sight. […]

When Craig published his paper in 1917 he described the behaviors of his doves as instinctive. In other words, being driven by some innate processes which require no conscious decision making nor any degree of intellect. Today we know a lot more about those “innate processes”, particularly that they are the result of a complex conversation between neurons and hormones playing out in the recesses of the animal brain. Not only do we know the chains of command running from brain centre to periphery we also know the hormones (at least some of them) by names, such as Neuropeptide Y (NPY) or Leptin. You don’t need to remember them. What you need to remember is that “instinctive” has matured from a black box stage to the stage of neurohormonal mechanisms, which can be tested quantitatively in the lab with experimental animals. […]

NPY is the most potent “orexigenic” peptide currently known. That’s science speak for appetite stimulating peptide. Now you also know what it means when I tell you that leptin’s effect is just the opposite, that is, anorexigenic, or appetite suppressant. Inject NPY into the right places of a rat’s brain and it will turn into a voracious eater. Give obese rats leptin, and they slim down.

{ Chronic Health | Continue reading }