Women better at snake spotting

2012-03-09 09:28
Paris - Women who have just finished ovulating are better at detecting snakes than at other times of their menstrual cycle, according to an unusual study that sheds light on in-built reflexes for survival.

Nobuo Masataka of Japan's Kyoto University tested 60 healthy women of child-bearing age at three different phases of their cycle.

They were simultaneously shown nine pictures, one of which was a snake among flowers while the others were only of flowers.

The volunteers were tested on how quickly they spotted the serpent.

The fastest women were those who were in the so-called luteal phase of their menstrual cycle, or the stage that immediately follows ovulation.

The study strengthens theories that we have a "fear reflex", or an innate response to threat signals such as potentially poisonous snakes, Masataka believes.

Previous research has found this trait among infants aged as young as eight months and even among non-human primates.

Among women, the reflex seems to be influenced by hormone levels at a stage when they could be pregnant and thus be more protective toward their foetus, the study suggests.

"It could contribute to women's ability to increase their vigilance toward biologically relevant threatening stimuli around themselves during this period of possible pregnancy," it said.

The paper was published on Thursday in the British journal Scientific Reports.
Read more on:    animals  |  health  |  research

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.