Thursday, January 24, 2008

unsubstaniated but interesting scientific claims

We've all read about the role of smell in attraction (& the t-shirt test) e.g. having MHC too similar to a partner's is problematic for progeny so we are attracted to people who's MHC is significantly different from ours. Time touched on this in a recent article on love & mentioned an unsettling hypothesis:

Precise as the MHC-detection system is, it can be confounded. One thing that throws us off the scent is the birth-control pill. Women who are on the Pill—which chemically simulates pregnancy—tend to choose wrong in the T-shirt test. When they discontinue the daily hormone dose, the protective smell mechanism kicks back in. "A colleague of mine wonders if the Pill may contribute to divorce," says Wysocki. "Women pick a husband when they're on birth control, then quit to have a baby and realize they've made a mistake."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I meant to post about this topic months ago & today the always delightful Oddly Enough Reuters news informed me of the actual brain implications of the phenomenon, so I figured I'd resurrect the topic:

Higher wine prices boost drinking pleasure. Yes, that's right expectation of taste actually triggers activity in the region of the brain associated with pleasure (without regard to the actual taste).

An excerpt from the original Good Experience post I intended to post about:
... he served fifty-seven participants a midrange red Bordeaux from a bottle with a label indicating that it was a modest vin de table. A week later, he served the same wine to the same subjects but this time poured from a bottle indicating that the wine was a grand cru. Whereas the tasters found the wine from the first bottle “simple,” “unbalanced,” and “weak,” they found the wine from the second “complex,” “balanced,” and “full.” (original New Yorker article I've yet to read.)

Wine is growing on me but my original hesitation about the snobbery associated with it remains, albeit with some amusement.

[Usual caveat about it only being one study that needs to be replicated, etc., etc.]