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Men More Appealing During Ovulation

By November 16, 2007

Do you see men differently during your fertile period? The answer to that question may be “Yes,” according to a report that appears on Science Daily. In a small study of 12 women aged between 23 and 28, an Indiana University neuroscientist has found that the female brain responds differently to men’s faces depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle. During the time ovulation occurs, more brain activity occurred in the regions associated with reward. At the same time, less activity of the brain regions associated with inhibition and cognitive control took place during the time around ovulation.

Heather Rupp, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at IU Bloomington, said the results of her study suggest that the female brain system may be more sensitive to rewards during the part of the menstrual cycle when conception may occur. She also believes that women may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, and drug or alcohol abuse, during their fertile periods.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging was utilized to observe the brain activity of the women who participated in the study. The scans were performed around the time of ovulation, as well as later in the menstrual cycle of the women. None of the women who participated used hormonal contraception or were in committed relationships. During the scans, women were shown 256 pictures of men’s faces that varied in masculinity and sexual risk. A computer-morphing program was used to change the masculinity of the men’s faces, and sexual behavior information was provided with each image. The women used a response paddle to indicate how likely she was to engage in sexual activity with each man.

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