Links for Keyword: Sexual Behavior

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By Jeremy Rehm A man may be attractive because of his curly, blond hair or slick pin-striped suit, but strip everything away and one luring—maybe evolutionary—piece remains, a new study finds: how proportional his body is, especially his legs. Women prefer a man with legs that are about half his height, according to previous research; scientists believe that is an evolutionary result of women wanting to choose only healthy men. Legs that are too short, for example, have been linked to type 2 diabetes. But other proportions, such as arm length to body height or whether the elbow and knee divide a limb in half, can also relate to a person’s health. Do they influence women’s views as well? To answer this, researchers collected average body proportions from roughly 9000 men in the U.S. military and used them to create computer-generated images of male models (pictured). The scientists made the model’s arms and legs slightly longer or shorter, and then asked more than 800 heterosexual U.S. women to rank each model’s attractiveness. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24986 - Posted: 05.17.2018

By Alexandra Sacks, M.D. A new mother finally gets her fussy baby to sleep and steps into a relaxing hot shower — with her glasses on. At a family barbecue she can’t recall the name of a relative she rarely sees. It’s easy to laugh off such lapses as “mommy brain,” but there remains a cultural belief that pregnancy and child care impact a woman’s cognition and mental life, long after a baby is born. Women have often chalked up these changes to hormones, fatigue and the intoxicating love for a new baby. Hormones do affect cognition, and, as anyone who has ever done shift work or had jet lag knows, sleep deprivation saps our mental abilities. And the current evidence in scientific literature suggests that pregnancy changes the brain on a physical, cellular level in ways that we are only beginning to understand. However, there is no convincing scientific evidence that pregnancy causes an overall decline in cognitive performance or memory. Instead, most experts believe that pregnant women’s brain changes are an example of neuroplasticity, the process in which the brain changes throughout life by reorganizing connections in response to the stimulation of new experiences, and neurogenesis, the process of growth that allows for new learning. A 2016 study in Nature Neuroscience found that even two years after pregnancy, women had gray matter brain changes in regions involved in social cognition or the ability to empathically understand what is going on in the mind of another person, to put yourself in their shoes. It may be that some subtle aspects of memory are sacrificed to enhance other areas of cognition. A 2010 study in Psychoneuroendocrinology showed that pregnant women experienced some impairment in the ability to remember words, but did not show changes in other memory functions such as recognition or working memory. This means that these women might forget the name of a character in their favorite TV show, for example, but would have no trouble in the type of memory that involves learning, reasoning and comprehension. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 24969 - Posted: 05.12.2018

Laurel Hamers Toastier nest temperatures, rather than sex chromosomes, turn baby turtles female. Now, a genetic explanation for how temperature determines turtles’ sex is emerging: Scientists have identified a temperature-responsive gene that sets turtle embryos on a path to being either male or female. When researchers dialed down that gene early in development, turtle embryos incubating at the cooler climes that would normally yield males turned out female instead, researchers report in the May 11 Science. Scientists have struggled since the 1960s to explain how a temperature cue can flip the sex switch for turtles and other reptiles (SN Online: 1/8/18). That’s partly because gene-manipulating techniques that are well-established in mice don’t work in reptiles, says study coauthor Blanche Capel, a developmental biologist at Duke University School of Medicine. Previous studies showed certain genes, including one called Kdm6b, behaving differently in developing male and female turtles. But until recently, nobody had been able to tweak those genes to directly test which ones controlled sex. “This is the first venture down that path,” says Clare Holleley, an evolutionary geneticist at the Australian National Wildlife Collection in Canberra who wasn’t part of the study. “It's really quite a breakthrough.” In the new study, Capel’s lab collaborated with a group of Chinese researchers led by Chutian Ge of Zhejiang Wanli University in Ningbo. Ge’s team recently developed a way to lessen the activity of particular reptilian genes by injecting viruses bearing snippets of artificial RNA into developing eggs. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 24963 - Posted: 05.11.2018

/ By Cathleen O'Grady Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Aciel Eshky didn’t get the memo that science was for boys. When she was around 10 years old, her aunt started to teach her basic computer programming. From there, going on to a degree in computer science seemed like a natural fit. So when a classmate in her master’s program abroad told her that women were weaker than men at math, it came as a shock. “I was really annoyed,” Eshky says. “I felt like I was being bullied.” “If that means that you get fewer women in certain subjects, and more women in other subjects like psychology, it’s not necessarily a catastrophe.” Despite its dismal reputation for gender equality, Saudi Arabia has a surprising level of female graduates in the so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Ranked among the bottom 20 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index in 2015, women nonetheless made up 39 percent of graduates in a cluster of “core” STEM subjects. This number is higher than Iceland’s 35 percent, even though the Nordic country ranks number one for gender equality. Norway, which has the second-highest level of gender equity, sees only 26 percent of women graduating with STEM degrees. Taken together with these numbers, Eshky’s experience is illustrative of the so-called “gender-equality paradox” reported in a recent headline-grabbing paper: Countries ranking higher on measures of gender equality, the study found, tend to have fewer women pursuing a STEM education than those further down the gender equality ranks. Copyright 2018 Undark

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 24910 - Posted: 04.27.2018

By Jim Daley Male fruit flies enjoy ejaculating, according to research published yesterday (April 20) in Current Biology. The study also found that when fruit flies are denied sex, they consume more alcohol than usual. It is the first study to demonstrate that insects find sex pleasurable. “We wanted to know which part of the mating process entails the rewarding value for flies,” says Galit Shohat-Ophir, a neurobiologist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, in a statement. “The actions that males perform during courtship? A female’s pheromones? The last step of mating which is sperm and seminal fluid release?” To test if the latter is pleasurable, Shohat-Ophi and her colleagues used genetically engineered male fruit flies whose neurons controlling ejaculation can be activated by red light. These flies spent more time near the red light, presumably because they found ejaculation pleasurable, the authors say in the statement. David Anderson, a neurobiologist at Caltech who was not part of the study, tells National Geographic that it’s possible the pleasure the flies experienced wasn’t from ejaculation, but other reward systems in the brain that the stimulated neurons act upon. Next, the researchers plied the flies with alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks and observed their response. The flies that had ejaculated preferred nonalcoholic drinks, while those that had not been exposed to the red light chose the alcoholic ones. “Male flies that are sexually deprived have increased motivation to consume alcohol as an alternative reward,” says Shohat-Ophi in the statement. © 1986-2018 The Scientist

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24890 - Posted: 04.21.2018

Jason Bittel In most North American hummingbirds, males court females by diving at them head on — but Costa’s hummingbirds (Calypte costae) perform their courtship dives off to the side. Researchers now find that this strategy allows the males to aim sounds at potential mates as if they were using a megaphone. During high-speed courtship dives, males fan their tails at the last second to create a high-pitched chirp. The faster the dive, the more those tail feathers vibrate and the higher the pitch created by the would-be Romeos. Researchers suspect that females prefer higher-pitched dives, which results in various strategies to boost the frequency of the noise a male makes. A study1 published on 12 April in Current Biology finds that male Costa’s hummingbirds can twist half of their tail feathers in the direction of the female, manipulating the volume and pitch of their chirps (see video). The researchers suspect that the targeted noise also masks audio cues that the females can use to judge how fast the males are diving. “You can think of the feather as being like a flashlight,” says Chris Clark, an ornithologist at the University of California, Riverside. “If you point the flashlight straight at something, the light is much brighter. And if you look at it from the side, at a 90-degree angle, there’s still some light but not nearly as much.” © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24866 - Posted: 04.14.2018

By Lydia Denworth The demands of parenthood are so considerable that it’s fair to wonder why any adult takes on the challenge. Mammalian babies are especially helpless—and among mammals, only humans can see beyond individual sacrifice to understand a species’s survival depends on caring for its young. Yet there is remarkable consistency in the way all mammals change their behavior upon becoming parents. Suddenly they are motivated to care for their young, and know how to feed and shelter, nurture and protect new babies. Parents also give up a lot of adult social interaction, whether it is mating with other mice or going barhopping with friends. “What this means is that there is this instinctive or genetically programmed aspect to the drive to take care of offspring,” says neuroscientist Catherine Dulac of Harvard University. But if a complicated and variable behavior like parenting is hardwired, how would that work? Reporting in Nature this week, Dulac, also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and her colleagues have provided a wiring diagram of the brain-wide circuit that coordinates parenting behavior in mice. The study marks the first deconstruction of the architecture of a brain circuit underlying a complex social behavior. The circuit they describe resembles the hub-and-spoke flight-routing system used by airlines and relies on a type of neuron that expresses the signaling molecule galanin. A relatively small number of these galanin neurons form a parenting command center—the medial preoptic area (MPOA)—in the hypothalamus, a brain structure responsible for controlling everything from appetite to sex drive. Responding to sensory input received from all over the brain, the neurons at the hub send distinct messages to at least 20 downstream subsets of galanin neurons. Like an airport terminal serving passengers according to their destinations, these subsets of cells, which the researchers dub “pools,” handle different facets of parenting behavior such as motor control of grooming or the motivation to parent at all. © 2018 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24859 - Posted: 04.12.2018

By Shawna Williams In recent years, US society has seen a sea change in the perception of transgender people, with celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox becoming the recognizable faces of a marginalized population. Transgender rights have also become a mainstream political issue, and the idea that people should be referred to by the names and pronouns they find most fitting—whether or not these designations match those on their birth certificates, or align with the categories of male and female—is gaining acceptance. Yet a biological understanding of the contrast between the natal sex and the gender identity of transgender people remains elusive. In recent years, techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have begun to yield clues to possible biological underpinnings of the condition known as gender dysphoria. In particular, researchers are identifying similarities and differences between aspects of the structure and function of the brains of trans- and cisgender individuals that could help explain the conviction that one’s gender and natal sex don’t match. The results may not have much effect on how gender dysphoria is diagnosed and treated, notes Baudewijntje Kreukels, who studies gender incongruence at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. “It’s really important that it will not be seen as, ‘When you see [gender dysphoria] in the brain, then it’s true.’” But the insights from such research could go a long way toward satisfying the desire of some transgender people to understand the roots of their condition, she adds. “In that way, it is good to find out if these differences between them and their sex assigned at birth are reflected by measures in the brain.” © 1986-2018 The Scientist

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 5: Hormones and the Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24724 - Posted: 03.06.2018

by Amy Ellis Nutt In the first broad demographic study of trends in gender-affirming surgeries in the United States, researchers found that the number of operations increased fourfold from 2000 to 2014. Some of the dramatic rise, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Surgery, may be related to an increase in insurance coverage for the procedures. “Early on we recognized there’s been a lot of work on health disparities having to do with age, race and so on that get collected in health-care settings,” said Brandyn Lau, an assistant professor of surgery and health sciences informatics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “One of the things we need to know is whether [lesbian, gay and transgender] patients are getting the same care.” Lau and other researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine and Harvard University analyzed 15 years of data from the National Inpatient Sample, a collection of hospital inpatient information from across the country, and found a total of 4,118 gender-affirming surgeries. The surgeries took place as LGBTQ people are finding increasing acceptance, especially among younger generations. The majority of the surgeries that occurred between 2000 and 2011 involved patients not covered by health insurance. About half of the transgender patients in the study paid out of pocket between 2000 and 2005. That number rose to 65 percent between 2006 and 2011. However, the trend reversed between 2012 and 2014, with the number plummeting to 39 percent. Much of that decrease, say the study's authors, is due to Medicare and Medicaid. In May 2014, Medicare ended its 33-year ban on transgender surgeries. Loren Schechter, who specializes in transgender surgeries, says he does about 300 procedures a year, whereas it was only about 50 in 2000. The plastic surgeon also accepts Medicare, which others do not. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24708 - Posted: 02.28.2018

By JOANNA KLEIN FEB. 13, 2018 If Cupid wanted to make two songbirds fall in love, he’d have better luck aiming at their brains. That’s because songbirds, which form lifelong mating pairs, have brain systems perfectly tuned to fit together. While you sort through the messages of admirers, deciding who to make your Valentine, consider finches. Young males in this family of feathered crooners learn the song of their father, perfect it and perform it as adults to attract a lifelong mate. It’s loud, elaborate and precise. With their songs they say “chirp, chirp — my brain is healthy, and my body is strong. That’s something you’re into, right?” A female finch also learns the songs of her father from a young age, but she doesn’t perform. She’s the critic. She analyzes every detail of a potential mate’s song, compares it to her father’s example and decides if this performer is one she’d like to keep around. If she detects a song is too simple or off in any way, she’ll have nothing to do with its performer. She’s very picky, as she should be, because the mate she chooses will help raise their young — till death do they part. Over the past decade, researchers looking into the chickpea-sized brains of finches have discovered that each sex uses what’s called its sound control system to convert sound waves to social messages and then use them to find mates, kind of how humans use vocal sounds to communicate. And while these systems are well-developed and finely tuned in both sexes of songbirds, the wiring is different. “The biggest difference between male and female brains of the same species is found in songbirds,” said Sarah Woolley, a neuroscientist who studies finches at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute. Dr. Woolley’s lab has been looking into the acoustic systems of zebra, bengalese and long-tailed finches to see how their brains take in and process sounds — learning, performing and analyzing different parts of them to make sense of songs. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24660 - Posted: 02.14.2018

An all-female freshwater fish species called the Amazon molly that inhabits rivers and creeks along the Texas-Mexico border is living proof that sexual reproduction may be vastly overrated. Scientists said on Monday they have deciphered the genome of the Amazon molly, one of the few vertebrate species to rely upon asexual reproduction, and discovered that it had none of the genetic flaws, such as an accumulation of harmful mutations or a lack of genetic diversity, they had expected. They found that the Amazon molly, named after the fierce female warriors of ancient Greek mythology, boasts a hardy genetic makeup that makes it equally fit, or even more so, than fish using sexual reproduction in which both maternal and paternal genes are passed along to offspring. "The Amazon molly is doing quite well," said biologist Manfred Schartl of the University of Wuerzburg in Germany. "Unexpectedly, we did not find the signs of genomic decay as predicted." The fish reproduces using a strategy in which a female's egg cell develops into a baby without being fertilized by a male's sperm cell. But that does not mean the fish does not need some hanky panky. "The Amazon molly female produces clones of itself by duping a male of a closely related species to mate with her. The asexual mode of reproduction termed gynogenesis requires the female to mate with a male but none of the male's genome is passed to the offspring," said geneticist Wesley Warren of the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. ©2018 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24659 - Posted: 02.14.2018

Adam Cole Love is complicated, scientifically speaking. There's no single, specific "love chemical" that surges through our bodies when we see our beloved, and we can't point to a specific corner of the brain where love resides. Still, scientists have measured real changes in our bodies when we fall in love: an ebb and flow of signaling molecules. In that early lustful phase, sex hormones like testosterone fuel the libido (in both men and women). The dopamine highs of new attraction have been compared by some scientists to the effects of cocaine use. The anxiety associated with new romance has been linked to low levels of serotonin in the brain. And some researchers say they see similarities in the way serotonin is regulated in the early phases of love and the way it is modulated in obsessive compulsive disorder. Meanwhile, our brains start producing more oxytocin, a chemical that is crucial to, among other things, the bonding of mothers and infants. Comparisons to drug use and compulsion aren't perfect (obviously there's a lot more fancy chemistry going on in our brains) but they do seem to speak to our experience. In Skunk Bear's new video, we explore the symptoms of love and their neurological causes. Why does your heart race when you see your crush? What gives you that feeling of butterflies? And why does love make us act so dumb? This love ballad is our Valentine's gift to you. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24651 - Posted: 02.13.2018

A mutant species of all-female crayfish taking over the world is not the latest science fiction film but a real-life environmental thriller. A new study has found that marbled crayfish are multiplying rapidly and invading ecosystems across the world. The ten-legged pests are descended from one single female with a mutation allowing it to reproduce without males. These self-cloning ladies are found for sale in North America, despite a warning against keeping them as pets. Sales of the six-inch creature are already banned by the European Union. Procambarus virginalis did not exist three decades ago. Born to a male and female slough crayfish, a species originally from Florida, the original marbled crayfish had an additional set of chromosomes - a mutation that made her distinct from her parents and allowed her to reproduce without having to mate. Now officially a separate species, the marbled crayfish can been found in the wild in Japan, Madagascar, multiple European countries and the US. The new study published in Nature, Ecology and Evolution describes the invasive species as a threat to wild ones, particularly seven native species in Madagascar. "If you have one animal, essentially, three months later, you will have 200 or 300," Dr Wolfgang Stein, one of the researchers, told Canadian public broadcaster CBC. Dr Stein, who is a neurophysiologist at Illinois State University, told the BBC that they compared 11 marbled crayfish, spread through the pet trade to four locations on three continents. He noted that while they all share the DNA of one mother crayfish, there were some differences in "colouring". "The animal sequenced here by us in the US was more blue-ish than the ones from Germany and Madagascar," Dr Stein said. © 2018 BBC.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24650 - Posted: 02.13.2018

By Kimberly Hickok Your webcam may know your face, but your keyboard knows your gender. Computer models can predict with 95.6% accuracy whether a man or woman is typing, according to a new study. To conduct the research, computer engineers installed keystroke-logging software onto the personal computers of 75 volunteers—36 men, 39 women—which monitored their daily computer use for 10 months. The researchers then used a program they created, called “ISqueezeU” to calculate the relative helpfulness of different typing features for determining gender—things like the time between two specific keystrokes, or the amount of time a key is pressed down during a single keystroke. A few features stood out as being more useful than others. For example, the average time between pressing the “N” key to pressing the “O” key was the most helpful, followed by the average time between pressing the “M” and “O” keys. The program isn’t capable of specifying whether a man or woman types those keys faster or more often—only that there is a difference. The researchers then tested the program’s findings using five machine learning models, which are computer programs that build models based on what they “learn” from existing data. All five models were able to predict gender accurately more than 78% of the time, with the most successful model being more than 95% accurate, the engineers report this week in Digital Investigation. The team proposes the use of keystroke dynamics as a cost-efficient and nonintrusive way to identify the gender of unknown computer users in criminal investigations, such as in cases of cyberstalking or identity theft. The researchers plan to expand their data collection with more volunteers, and see whether incorporating other variables such as handedness or education level can increase accuracy. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 24639 - Posted: 02.10.2018

Robert D. Martin This may be surprising to some: A woman's age is not alone in affecting pregnancy and birth, despite the impression often given. Reviewing Paul Raeburn's book Do Fathers Matter?, Tabitha Powledge wrote: "Everybody knows that older mothers run higher risks of a baby with birth defects — Down syndrome being the most common and best-known. By comparison, hardly anybody knows that the older Dad gets, the riskier it is for him to conceive a child." Partners age together, so a fetus or baby with an older mother will mostly have an older father, too. Logic demands exploration of age effects in both sexes. Though few and far between, such studies do indeed reveal that both men and women contribute. With Down syndrome, age effects for fathers and mothers are roughly balanced. But new data clearly show that, when it comes to inherited defects, fathers actually carry greater risks than mothers. Random changes in DNA — mutations — accumulate four times faster in sperms than in eggs. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace realized that variety is not just the spice of life; it is the very essence. Inherited differences between individuals are the raw material for natural selection. And the prime source of natural variation in genes is new mutations. These have been studied intensively, notably regarding rates of change. Yet mutation also has a dark side because it can produce adverse effects along with variety. Hence, the mutation rate has fundamental implications for medical genetics as well as for evolutionary biology. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24592 - Posted: 01.31.2018

Emily Willingham How many times did I say it – to myself, out loud alone or out loud to others, throughout my childhood? ‘I wish I were a boy.’ The words were mine, a fervent and frequent wish. They were not born of a feeling of mismatch between external expectations and internal signals. Except for a lifelong tension with society’s mixed messages about what it means to be a woman, I’m comfortable identifying as the gender assigned to me. But I wished for boyness because the boys did so many things I wanted to do and was excluded from doing because I was a girl. My body and my brain mapped to each other just fine, but my body didn’t map at all to what society told these boys – and me – I was allowed to do. As many a woman can attest, this feeling of belonging in male spaces that lock you out doesn’t end with teenhood, adulthood, careerhood or parenthood. An aficionado of adventure stories, I couldn’t – still can’t – help but notice that the places men can go are often No Women’s Lands for someone like me. Not because I lack the physicality, strength or stamina to traverse them but because the mere presentation of being female is itself dangerous. Realistically, it invites violence, exclusion and violation in too many ways to be considered anything but a liability. And then there are the less wild places, just boys’ clubs and men’s clubs, de facto or tacit, where being a girl or woman means being viewed as an intruder or, as women have always known, being subject to harassment or worse. Every day, I see men circle their masculinity like musk oxen, protective and exclusionary, in my professions of academia and journalism. Even in the virtual world of social media, they reflexively exclude women who are their peers in expertise and competence while readily engaging men who are neither. I am wryly amused when people committed to the idea that men and women are cognitively different throw women the double-edged bone of being ‘better at verbal expression’. (Look, we’re good at a thing! That you’ll also use to make fun of us chatty, chatty Cathies!) I read that and think of who receives most of the major book awards and other writing accolades. Hint: it’s men. I’ll wager that the social factors involved in the latter contribute to the assumptions underlying the former. © Aeon Media Group Ltd. 2012-2018.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24581 - Posted: 01.29.2018

By Shawna Williams When the Voyager I spacecraft left Earth in 1977, it carried with it a “Golden Record” containing audio recordings of messages meant for any intelligent life that might cross its path. It bore sounds from around the world, including greetings in 55 languages, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” and a fussy baby being soothed by its mother. According to Marc Bornstein, a developmental psychologist at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Carl Sagan and other members of the committee who decided what to include on the record were spot on in picking the latter track. “Infant cry is . . . the very first communication between an infant and a caregiver,” Bornstein says. Crying is infants’ best tool for ensuring they get the care they need, but Bornstein and his research collaborators wondered about the caregivers’ responses: to what extent were those innate versus learned? To investigate, they enrolled 684 new mothers and their babies from 11 countries around the world and put cameras in their homes. Each time a baby began crying, the researchers recorded what the mother did in the next five seconds. Did she pick the baby up? Kiss or stroke it? Talk to it? Try to distract it with a toy? “Within five seconds, the predominant kinds of responses are picking up and holding and talking to the baby,” says Bornstein (PNAS, 114:E9465-73, 2017). The degree of uniformity surprised him. “People in Kenya and Cameroon . . . the mothers are growing up and have been reared in wildly different circumstances than mothers in Brazil and Argentina or the United States, or certainly than Japan or South Korea.” © 1986-2018 The Scientist

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 24571 - Posted: 01.26.2018

Michael Seto Mr. Smith was a 27-year-old man referred for psychological treatment after sexually offending against a 13-year-old boy. He initially denied the charge, but eventually admitted to sexually abusing multiple youth. He later admitted he’d been attracted to boys since his own adolescence. Mr. Smith is actually a case composite from my first book on pedophilia. But the description is representative of stories I’ve heard from the hundreds of individuals I’ve talked with as a psychologist and researcher over the past 25 years. Most men are sexually attracted to sexually mature young adults. But a small minority of men are sexually attracted to other age groups, from infants to the elderly. These age-based attractions are called chronophilias. My research focuses on chronophilias and sexual offending against children. Recently, I’ve started to think about these age-specific attractions as sexual orientations for age, similar to how we understand sexual orientation for gender. This is quite different from the traditional way that psychologists view chronophilias, as sexual preferences that are distinct from someone’s identity. This idea – that chronophilias can be understood as sexual orientations for age – is provocative, because it raises ethical, legal and scientific questions about how we think about sexual orientation, the etiology of sexual preferences and how we respond to sexual offenses against minors. © 2010–2018, The Conversation US, Inc.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24552 - Posted: 01.23.2018

Lions, elephants, and baboons are matriarchies that are female-centric in different ways, for different reasons. Lion mothers form ‘daycare centres’ to nurse their young and sisters band together to hunt for their families. It’s not the male who’s the bread-winner — it’s the female. Elephants are led by the eldest female who knows all the watering holes and strategies for survival. Her age and memory of how to survive the long dry season is key in a climate plagued by drought. Baboons have a female royal family where, surprisingly, it’s the youngest female who ascends to the throne. Mommy Wildest is an intimate story – the ”days of our lives” of these families, with individual characters whose challenges we follow: the Ol Dikidiki pride of lionesses raising their 11 cubs; Donatella, the elephant grandmother who leads her family to safety from gunshots shielding them from danger, and bay Rijeka, the baboon princess surrounded by her sisters. Mommy Wildest also follows the leading scientists in their field who’ve been asking: Why did these three societies evolve into matriarchies? What can humans learn from them? Dr. Craig Packer IS the lion king. He’s the foremost lion expert in the world and has been studying lions for more than 40 years. In this film, he travels to Maasai Mara to visit one of the richest concentrations of lions left in the world, and to meet the Ol Dikidiki pride. It was Dr. Packer who determined why lionesses bond together in sisterhoods –it’s to defend against roving males who would kill their cubs and take over the pride. By working together, the sisters can defend against the much stronger male. ©2018 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 24544 - Posted: 01.20.2018

Richard Harris The results of an IQ test can depend on the gender of the person who's conducting the test. Likewise, studies of pain medication can be completely thrown off by the gender of the experimenter. This underappreciated problem is one reason that some scientific findings don't stand the test of time. Colin Chapman found out about this problem the hard way. He had traveled to Sweden on a Fulbright scholarship to launch his career in neuroscience. And he decided to study whether a nasal spray containing a hormone called oxytocin would help control obesity. The hormone influences appetite and impulsive behavior in obese men. "I was really excited about this project, from what I understood about how the brain works, I thought it was kind of a slam dunk," he says. Chapman set up the experiment and then left for a few years to attend Harvard Law School. When he returned, the findings were not at all what he expected, "and I was really disappointed because this was my baby, it was my big project going into neuroscience." But Chapman, who is now a graduate student at the University of Uppsala, says his idea turned out to be right after all. "There was another research group that around the same time came up with the same idea," he says. "And they ran basically the same project and they got exactly the results I was expecting to get." © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases; Chapter 8: General Principles of Sensory Processing, Touch, and Pain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 24517 - Posted: 01.11.2018