Another day, another questionable study about how ovulation subtly affects the orangutan-quadrant of a human man's brain. In the latest study about how we all might as well still be cavepeople when it comes to sexual activity, researchers at the University of Göttingen in Germany figured out that women in the fertile phase of their menstrual cycles were deemed more attractive dancers by an audience of 200 undergraduate and graduate male students. If you're thinking, "But all the grant money in the world should be for making a fusion reactor or something," then you and my childhood, Sim City 2000-playing self should have coffee and pastries sometime.
This study might look familiar because of the bullshit-riddled, 2007-study from two University of New Mexico researchers who visited a strip club a few times and concluded that ovulating strippers make more money in tips. Admittedly, this more recent German study and the UNM study seem pretty similar, but the researchers at the University of Göttingen actually availed themselves of a more scientific approach to their science. Researchers asked 48 women between the ages of 19 and 33 to dance to an identical drumbeat during both the "late follicular" (i.e. fertile) phase of their cycles, as well as the nonfertile "mid-luteal" phase. Fertility, according to LiveScience, "was gauged by counting back from the woman's last period." The women all had their hair pulled back and wore identical form-fitting clothes, because what's a scientific study if it doesn't pretty much dehumanize everyone involved? Male undergraduate and graduate students then watched silhouettes of the women dancing, as if the whole experiment were just an extended Bond-movie test screening.
By and large, the participating men judged the "more fertile" women to be more attractive dancers. Researchers also showed the men silhouettes of the women just walking around, which elicited the same response — ovulating women have the more attractive gait. Bernhard Fink, one of the researchers involved with the study, said that the findings should make everyone reconsider the idea that ovulation in humans is "concealed." He and his team suspected that fluctuations in estrogen levels — which in turn can affect muscle, ligament and tendon strength — could help explain why women move differently (if they in fact move differently) when fertile.
Though this study definitely sounds a little less made-up than the "Ovulating Strippers Make More Money" silliness, divining the atavistic roots behind how men and women single one another out for sex only helps contribute to a disheartening body of pseudo pop-science about how women prefer men with Clint Eastwood jaws and simian brows, and how men need to sow their seed wantonly, you know, to help propagate the species. People pick up these "scientific" explanations for human behavior and use them when it's most convenient, then set them back down and go about the business of wearing clothes, driving cars and going to work, all the while forgetting that people have largely outgrown or suppressed most of the animalistic instincts that supposedly orchestrate our choice in a mate.
Fertile Gals Have All the Right Dance Moves [LiveScience]
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