As sure as honey attracts bees, Valentine’s Day attracts scientific reports on human relations. For example, in early February, researchers announced new findings about online dating sites.
Many of these popular sites say they have a special formula to find the perfect partner. But the researchers say these claims are unsupported and likely false. Lead author Eli Finkel at Northwestern University in Illinois said online dating is a great addition to the ways for singles to look for love. But the study found that so far there is no scientific evidence that any formula or “matching algorithm” actually works. The study is being published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
Now here is a different question: When do you suppose a female voice is most unappealing to a man? Researchers measured men’s reactions to women’s voices at different points during their monthly cycle. The study found that generally a woman’s voice is most unattractive to men during her period. All the experiments found that men can detect small changes in women’s voices at different points in the menstrual cycle. About two hundred college-age males took part in the study.
Ten young women provided voice recordings from four points in their cycles. These included the times of highest and lowest fertility. The highest is during ovulation, when the body releases an egg for fertilization. The lowest is during a woman’s period.The men had a twenty-five percent chance of guessing which recordings were made during menstruation. But they chose correctly at least thirty-four percent of the time.
Finally, one group of men had to choose the voice they found most unattractive. Again, thirty-four percent of the time they chose the so-called menstrual voice.Nathan Pipitone of Adams State College in Colorado led the study, published in the journal Ethology. He points out that in other primates, it is often easy to recognize when females are most fertile. But in humans the effects of hormonal changes are often difficult to recognize. Dr. Pipitone says evolution may have reduced the effects in humans in order to support relationships with just one partner.
As he put it: “I think this reflects the shift in the minimization of these cues across the menstrual cycle to lead to one of our most prominent mating strategies — monogamy. Having drastic shifts in attitudes and behaviors does not bode well for a pair-bonding relationship.”
For VOA Special English, I’m Alex Villarreal.
Words in This Story
findings -n. the results of an investigation – usually plural
formula -n. a plan or method for doing, making, or achieving something
claim -n. a statement saying that something is true when some people may say it is not true
evidence -n. something which shows that something else exists or is true
psychology -a. of or relating to the mind
unappealing -a. not attractive or appealing
period -n.the bleeding from a woman’s womb that happens once a month when she is not pregnant
menstrual -a. connected with the time when a woman menstruates
menstruation -n. the flow of blood from a woman’s uterus
ovulation -n. the time when a woman or female animal produces an egg
fertilization -n. the process of joining male and female sexual cells to produce young
primate -n. a member of the most developed and intelligent group of mammals, including humans, monkeys, and apes
evolution -n. the way in which living things change and develop over millions of years
prominent -a. very well known and important
monogamy -n. the fact or custom of having a sexual relationship or marriage with only one other person at a time
drastic -a. (especially of actions) severe and sudden or having very noticeable effects
bode -v. to be a sign of something that will happen in the future, usually something very good or bad
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