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.

  • Romank - 2012-03-09 09:38

    Well that says a lot about who they really are

  • Lynn - 2012-03-09 09:49

    Can someone explain to me why a study like this would even be funded? I don't get it.

  • Hans - 2012-03-09 10:09

    What on earth were they smoking when they decided to research this?

  • Mouldy - 2012-03-09 10:38

    Was it Trouser Snake?

  • Aphrodite - 2012-03-09 11:00

    I can totally relate to this research. I sometimes "feel" a snake before actually seeing it. Strange but true!!

  • Jaco - 2012-03-09 12:14

    to the researcher behind this.. get a girl

  • Robsschele - 2012-03-09 12:48

    Or it could be that they instinctively look for anything that looks like a penis.

  • Brian TeWater - 2013-05-17 09:24

    Women better than what? What a stupid headline.

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