Friday, March 9, 2012

Useful to know: Women who have just finished ovulating are better at detecting snakes than at other times of their menstrual cycle


Nobuo Masataka of Japan's Kyoto University has just  wasted a great deal of money (only in my opinion, of course) testing healthy women of child-bearing age at three different phases of their menstrual cycle.

Mr Masataka, on the other hand, obviously believes that his research is worthwhile. After all, women in their menstrual cycle often run into poisonous snakes during the course of their day. It's one of those hazards that you simply have to get used to when you go shopping at your local supermarket.

The test involved showing the women nine pictures: one, a snake among flowers, and the others, only flowers.

Masataka wanted to know how quickly the women could spot the snake.

Apparently, the ones who spotted it the fastest were those in the 'luteal' phase of their menstrual cycle - the stage that immediately follows ovulation.

Masataka believes that his study supports theories that we have an in-built "fear reflex" (I knew that without spending a small fortune on pointless research).

In other words, humans have an innate response to threat signals such as poisonous snakes, lions, tigers, stampeding elephants, shop assistants and religious people (especially Jehovah's Witnesses and Creationists).

The paper was published on Thursday in the British journal Scientific Reports.

(Adapted from an AFP article on Yahoo News: Hisss and hers: 'When women are best at spotting snakes')

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