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Women "Advertise" Fertility

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the but-we-knew-this dept.

Science 317

Dik Zak writes with word of a paper published in the journal Hormones and Behavior. A study found that women take greater care over their appearance when they are at peak levels of monthly fertility. The researchers took two photos of each of 30 women, one near ovulation and one at the other end of her cycle. They then showed the paired photos (with faces obscured) to a group of observers, who were asked to judge in which photo the women were trying to look more attractive. The observers chose the "high fertility" subject nearly 60% more of the time than would be expected by chance.

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317 comments

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Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (5, Funny)

FST (766202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17562928)

Looks like kdawson isn't too fertile right now.

What does this mean for men? (5, Funny)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 7 years ago | (#17562932)

Like you uhh know you we are (most of us) are at the 100% fertility rate most of the time and uhhh we don't care about advertising it. I am not sure where i am going with this. Oh snap, i need to shave the 4 month old beard. Wonder where dad keeps his razor...

Re:What does this mean for men? (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563214)

> Like you uhh know you we are (most of us) are at the 100% fertility rate most of the time and uhhh we don't care about advertising it. I am not sure where i am going with this. Oh snap, i need to shave the 4 month old beard. Wonder where dad keeps his razor...

Apparently, for at least four times during that interval, it's been in Mom's drawer.

(Sorry, that was too easy.)

Re:What does this mean for men? (4, Funny)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563754)

What it really means for men is that the more attracted you are the the woman you're having sex with, the greater the chances that you'll need to use protection.

Of course the only true way to be safe is to abs^H^H^Hread slashdot.

60% of 30? (4, Insightful)

Scooter (8281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17562956)

Hardly statistically significant:-

60% of 30 is 18 - I mean come on, that's only 3 over the pure chance 50%!

Re:60% of 30? (1)

Scooter (8281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563050)

Just re-read that and it could mean they chose it a number of times 60% bigger than the number of times they chose the other, which is better but still - 30's hardly a big sample...

Re:60% of 30? (5, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563220)

The article and summary are in disagreement. Choosing to assume the article is more likely to be right, it is 60% right guesses vs expected 50% right guesses.

However, also omitted from the summary is 42 guessers guessing on the 30 dress-up-women in the study. That's 42x30 guesses, with a 60% correct guess rate overall. 60% with more than a thousand sample points is well within the usual scientific standard for statistically significant.

Re:60% of 30? (1)

Meatloaf Surprise (1017210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563094)

From the article:

The judges chose the photo taken during the fertile phases 60 per cent of the time.

According to New Scientist, this is "well beyond random chance".

How dare you! 3 more than 50% is WELL BEYOND RANDOM CHANCE!!!

Re:60% of 30? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563112)

42 judges on average got 18/30 right.
That's a total of 126 more right guesses than expected out of 1260 guesses.

Re:60% of 30? (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563120)

Which part of "The observers chose the "high fertility" subject nearly 60% more of the time than would be expected by chance" don't you understand?

Re:60% of 30? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563168)

That's not his fault, it's the summaries fault. His interpretation is actually correct if you read the actual article.

Nevertheless, he is still wrong about the statistical significance.

Re:60% of 30? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563138)

You can't read. It said "60% *more* than chance". So, it probably means (30*0.5 * 1.6) => 24.

No, 60% more (5, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563140)

Not 60% of the time, but 60% more than expected if it were chance alone. So more likely 1.6 * (30*.5) = 24/30, not 18/30.

But of course the actual number isn't in the article.

Re:No, 60% more (2)

duranaki (776224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563258)

Ok.. but can we all agree that 30 is a ridiculously low sample size?

Re:No, 60% more (5, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563454)

30 is a low sample size, but would not be unusual in psychology studies. There are statistical tests you can perform to find out the minimum effect size to declare significance. I've seen studies with meaningful results in as few as 8 samples.

Nevertheless, this particular study had 1260 samples. 42 guessers * 30 guesses each. More than a thousand samples is plenty for significance.

Re:No, 60% more (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563576)

No because it was 30 pictures among 40 independantly scoring judges. 1200 samples in all.

Yes they could have done for more women. But personally I think it was stupid to "obscure" the faces, I'd bet their results would would have been higher**

**Assuming the study was right in the first place.

Re:No, 60% more (3, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563702)

42 judges. That number is important.

Re:No, 60% more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563740)

Ok.. but can we all agree that 30 is a ridiculously low sample size?

We're talking about women here. And this is Slashdot. A sample size of 30 women on Slashdot is astronomically large.

Re:No, 60% more (4, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563278)

The article is clear on this, the slashdot summary is wrong. It's 60% right guesses for 42 guessers against 30 pictures, over a thousand total guesses, with 60% right instead of 50% right.

Re:No, 60% more (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563490)

No, the slashdot summary is quoting New Scientist, which is also refered to by the Daily Mall article. Sounds to me like Daily Mall may be misquoting New Scientist, but of course the full New Scientist article isn't available online.

Re:No, 60% more (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563600)

Allow me to quote direct from the Daily Mall:

The judges chose the photo taken during the fertile phases 60 per cent of the time.

According to New Scientist, this is "well beyond random chance".


Where the word 'more' came from, other than slashdot summary, I don't know.

The real study is here:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleUR L&_udi=B6WGC-4M3J10P-1&_user=10&_handle=C-WA-A-WB- WB-MsSAYZW-UUA-U-U-WB-U-U-AADUEEYDVD-AAZYCDECVD-WU BCYWEWC-WB-U&_fmt=full&_coverDate=01%2F31%2F2007&_ rdoc=7&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%236819%232007%239 99489998%23638753!&_cdi=6819&_acct=C000050221&_ver sion=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=444a5bf43b7599 407cecc16ac1560df4 [sciencedirect.com]

Re:No, 60% more (4, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563706)

Where the word 'more' came from, other than slashdot summary, I don't know.

It came from the New Scientist article which was linked from the summary at the end of the sentence: "The observers chose the "high fertility" subject nearly 60% more of the time than would be expected by chance, according to the NewScientist.com writeup."

So like I was saying, it isn't the slashdot summary, it's Daily Mall and New Scientist which are contradicting each other.

Thank goodness for the real study, though, which makes it clear that it is New Scientist which is incorrect.

Re:No, 60% more (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563774)

Thanks, and sorry about that, I had RTFA without noticing there was a second FA to read.

Indeed, the New scientist is off.

Re:No, 60% more (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563842)

Well, it's not like I'd read either article before making my original post. ;)

Re:No, 60% more (4, Interesting)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563838)

Much more interesting is women's tendencies to forget to take birth control, and to have affairs during ovulation [socialpsychology.org] .

[W]hen women have sexual affairs with someone other than the husband or boyfriend, the affair often occurs during ovulation, the woman and her partner typically use no birth control, and the partner chosen by the woman has some quality that the husband/boyfriend lacks (Baker & Bellis, 1993; Bellis & Baker, 1990).

Not 60% more, actually 20%. (1)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563434)

Check the article again [dailymail.co.uk] , "The judges chose the photo taken during the fertile phases 60 per cent of the time."

The judges picked the fertile phase photo 60% of the time, when random chance would suggest 50%. This is an 20% more than random chance would predict. Significant, but not quite as amazing as a 60% difference that the summary erroneously suggests.

Re:No, 60% more (1)

Man of E (531031) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563438)

Picking the ovulating one 24 out of 30 times is a ridiculously strong result, with p-value 0.000162 - that's a hundredth of one percent! I think we're misinterpreting the article or the summary.

Re:No, 60% more (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563688)

It's the slashdot summary, they misquoted the Daily Mail by inserting the word 'more'.
It's really just 60% right guesses vs expected 50% right guesses.

And 60% more of a much larger number. (1)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563484)

60% increase in observations picked correctly.

They showed pairs of pictures of 30 women to a group of observers. Suppose there were 25 people in the test group ("observers"). Each was shown all 30 pairs of pictures. That's 25*30=750 observations, each with an opportunity to pick the right one.

Chance would say they'd pick the high-fertility picture 50% of the time; 325 out of 750 observations. Instead they picked it 60% more often than that, i.e. 520 times. (=1.6 * 325). The fact that there were 520 "correct" picks instead of 325 is more than enough for a statistically significant result.

(Those aren't the actual numbers, 25 was a guess, but it makes the point.)

Re:And 60% more of a much larger number. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563558)

[ ... ] 50% of the time; 325 out of 750 observations.


Those aren't the actual numbers [ ... ]


I should certainly hope not!

Re:And 60% more of a much larger number. (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563738)

The slashdot summary misquoted the daily mail, which summarized the study reasonably correctly.

It was just plain 60% right guesses vs expected 50% right guesses.

And the sample size was roughly a total of 1200 guesses. So roughly 720 guesses right vs expected 600 guesses right.

Re:No, 60% more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563548)

While the results are statistically significant they are hardly staggering and it should be realized that ovulation is not independant of menstration which is not independant of PMS or cramping. It seems just as reasonable to conclude that the women were simply less enthused about dressing up when they were close to menstration than to conclude that they wanted to attract a mate during ovulation.

Re:No, 60% more (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563570)

Not 60% of the time, but 60% more than expected if it were chance alone. So more likely 1.6 * (30*.5) = 24/30, not 18/30.

But of course the actual number isn't in the article.
Exactly. I love it when stats aren't displayed as stats. Pretty much invalidates the entire study in my book.

You know, 37.4% of all statistics are made up, anyway.

There are two links in the summary, folks (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563784)

To two different articles. The word "more" came from the second link, which was to New Scientist, which according to the helpful link provided by brian0918, is wrong. It was in fact a 60% rate of picking the picture of the ovulating woman. Anyway, that's where the confusion came from.

FULL ARTICLE (4, Informative)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563282)

The full article can be found here [sciencedirect.com] .

Re:60% of 30? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563620)

RTFA. The results tested significant at less than p=0.05 (one of the analyses was p0.02). Recall that p=0.05 (if p is calculated correctly) means that you would get this or a more sigificant-seeming result about once if you did the same study from scratch 20 times. I won't even consider whether the p values are correctly calculated. The result is significant at the p=0.05 level. Certainly, the researchers did a power calculation to figure out how large a sample they needed to get this level of significance with an estimated signal size -- the power calculation is used to set the sample size. They had enough power so quit your armchair complaining about the sample size -- if they doubled the sample it most likely wouldn't have halved the p values --- the law of diminishing returns is alive and well.

Researchers should pay more attention (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17562976)

There's a reason other than "randomness" that your wife bothers you more at times. It's not just because she thinks that you need "a break from your work". Open your eyes, men! She wants something from you!

My wife and I figured this out ages ago. She's all over me during ovulation. Anyone who's married and paying attention should also be able to notice this. But then again, how many guys know their wife's monthly schedule? Hmm.

--Posted as AC for privacy

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563086)

Is it weird that I still remember 2 of my exes' cycles specifically so I know when to call for a booty call? Probably, but at least I'm getting some, right?

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (4, Funny)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563114)

Per my comment below, [slashdot.org] my wife and I have the inverse relationship. And I always know her schedule because if I find myself humping her leg, she is probably menstruating.

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563256)

You bother her because you know you can't get any. And when you can't get any, you feel you must have it. Relax, this is normal.

What we're talking about is the situation where SHE is actively trying to get you to hump her. Pay attention to the signals she's sending. e.g. Nicely dressed, tasty dinner, "cuddling time", etc. Women express themselves more emotionally than physically, so if it seems like she's trying to be romantic, there's probably a reason.

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (1)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563442)

You bother her because you know you can't get any. And when you can't get any, you feel you must have it. Relax, this is normal.
If that were the case I'd be after her all the time. More like I bother her because she is all bloated and juicy and I can tell she won't get pregnant.

What we're talking about is the situation where SHE is actively trying to get you to hump her. Pay attention to the signals she's sending. e.g. Nicely dressed, tasty dinner, "cuddling time", etc. Women express themselves more emotionally than physically, so if it seems like she's trying to be romantic, there's probably a reason.
Yeah, that ain't gonna happen. She doesn't like cuddling or romance. If she want to get laid she just tells me.

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (2, Funny)

Kiaser Zohsay (20134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563186)

But then again, how many guys know their wife's monthly schedule?
This works both ways. When she's near the end of her cycle, I'm near the end of my rope! Of course, women in general tend care less about everything near the end of their cycle, not just personal grooming. Does the phrase "Oh, to hell with it all, where's the Haagen Das?" ring any bells?

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (3, Interesting)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563218)

I learned something very early with my wife: when she hits ovulation, she's less interested me when I'm clean-cut and smelling good and all that and more interested in me when I haven't shaved, have been working outside all day, and am wearing some pretty rough-looking clothes.

The theory is that she goes for rugged-looking me because it makes me look stronger and tougher and so I look like a better choice for reproduction. "Strong man make strong babies" or something like that.

Knowing when she ovulates means knowing which days I can skip shaving and don't have to clean up before giving her a kiss after doing yardwork.

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (4, Funny)

doktor-hladnjak (650513) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563274)

But then again, how many guys know their wife's monthly schedule?

Just another reason, I'm glad I'm gay.

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563560)

But then again, how many guys know their wife's monthly schedule?
Just another reason, I'm glad I'm gay.


Yes, but then you have to know your partner's daily tri-therapy schedule...

I visit my x around this time for that very reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563354)



Your right, I woudl say this is pretty well known you don't need statistics to prove it. Though to most of these geeks that may not be relivant. Point is we are all animals before we are human and for evalutionary reasons we were born to procreate. Thus I can always tell even upon walking in the house when my girlfriend is at that time. matter of fact after I broke up with my x I used to go and 'drop by' around that time and checking back on the calender it was abtou once a month like clockwork.

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563444)

No disrespect intended toward your wife, but maybe you notice this time of the month in a positive light because the time before and during her period she's less sexy. In other words, if you see it like a wave, maybe it's not that the crest is so high, but that the trough is so low.

The women I've known tend toward grumpiness just before their period, and often during it. In my experience, people who don't feel nice on the inside tend not to show it on the outside. I tend to notice sweat pants more often and less attention paid to the hair. YMMV.

Maybe the researchers should have considered the possibility that women are less attractive than usual near their period than that they are sexier during ovulation. If you only show two photos and don't do anything to see how she looks during the baseline when woman aren't at either peak of their cycle, then either conclusion could be drawn.

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (5, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563498)

But then again, how many guys know their wife's monthly schedule?
I know your wife's monthly schedule.

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (2)

mdf356 (774923) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563588)

I can smell when my wife is ovulating. Not consciously, but I get a lot more horny at the right time -- she got pregnant at age 37 three weeks after we got married, because I could "smell" it and we humped three times in 24 hours.

The next time was almost as fast -- five weeks after she stopped nursing, pregnant again.

Cheers,
Matt

Re:Researchers should pay more attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563732)

This is the most disgusting comment I have ever read on Slashdot. Oh god....

Duh (1)

Yannic (609749) | more than 7 years ago | (#17562988)

One word...

Sweatpants.

\/\/\/

How...timely. (1)

stile99 (1004110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17562992)

Took them three months to get this news across the pond?

My Evolutionary Disadvantage (3, Funny)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563036)

According to my wife I have a genetic defect which causes me to be more attracted to her when she is menstruating. This has obvious disadvantages in that she is both unlikely to get pregnant and unlikely to not kick my ass when fondled in that state. Good thing I don't want kids, or a genetic legacy.

Re:My Evolutionary Disadvantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563384)

You may also have a genetic defect that makes you unlikely to not use double negatives.

Re:My Evolutionary Disadvantage (1)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563508)

I sure do. It is called a sense of humor. That was a humerous rhetorical device. Hard to believe you have never heard or read a purposeful comedic double negative before. Is english not your first language?

Re:My Evolutionary Disadvantage (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563746)

Is english not your first language?

You'd better be careful saying things like this around here, some slashbot will crop up and tell you that for lots of people on this thing, it isn't their first language.

Frankly I think that if someone wants to participate in a discussion in a given language, they should do all they can to master it, which is why I haven't moved someplace tropical yet... I feel a responsibility to speak the local language. I only wish more people in the USA felt that way...

Oh, no. Not again! (2, Funny)

DrMindWarp (663427) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563072)

A similar study was conducted about 10 years ago, if not more. Slashdot! News for amnesiacs. Stuff that mattered long ago.

Re:Oh, no. Not again! (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563656)

TFA is a regular newspaper citing a New Scientist article, whose author may have read the original paper or perhaps just the press release.

All that gets reported is what is old news, as you point out. The original work is by Baker and Bellis, and dates back to the 80s. but isn't cited in this article. Baker and Bellis' work has been criticized as being poorly controlled and subject to sample bias.

This study has a stronger statistical basis, and that's news. But most of the actual articles won't talk about that, because it's boring, and would rather discuss the original hypothesis, which as you point out has a long history.

And this story isn't exactly timely, either. The original scientific paper [ucla.edu] is now over a year old, and was published six months ago.

Re:Oh, no. Not again! (1)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563660)

Exactly. Desmond Morris' "The Human Animal" documentary series from the mid 90s went into great detail the evolution of sexual behaviour. Women are more likely to wear less clothing when ovulating and they're more likely to cheat on their primary partners. Conversely men' penis heads are shaped like plungers to suction competitive sperm out of the woman's vagina, men are more likely to have a larger sperm count when separated from their primary partner for periods of time OR if they think she hasn't been faithful. Finally, unlike our primate ancestors, female homo sapiens have evolved the ability to not directly display fertility (e.g. swollen genitalia)...all in the interest of diversifying the genetic pool of her offspring.

Every once in awhile these studies are reproduced and picked up by a newswire...they're juicy headlines that are supposed to be 'shocking'. Until you take an unbiased, scientific view of human behaviour.

And no we're not just products of nature...we have free will and can override these more base instincts via concious decision making.

Women? (4, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563076)

Dear stranger, what is this "women" you speak of?

Re:Women? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563308)

google it. There are lots of web sites with pictures of them advertising their fertility.

Bad study (4, Insightful)

G00F (241765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563108)

The case study was to small, only 30 women with only 2 pictures, not only did we not collect data, but with the lack of numbers we creates a very large error of margin.

Example, flip a coin once, and you get heads, your test reveals 100% heads when flipping a coin. Flip it 10 times, you got heads 3 times, so according to this test when flipping a coin you have 30% chance to get heads. Now flip it 100 times. That number will be a lot closer to 50%.

Try 1000 women with 6 pictures each (3 in prime and 3 out of prime) then have 100 different people scoring each card.

All this test does is shows is hey maybe there is something, and let us do a real test.

Re:Bad study (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563320)

There are over a thousand coin flip equivalents in this study.

42 guessers * 30 pictures each = 1260 samples.

Re:Bad study (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563436)

In a way there is. It's hard to tell without knowing the numbers. We have both uncertainty in the classification (the 42) and the uncertainty in the actual behavior of menstruating women (the 30). With what we have been told, it's possible that the classifications were actually always quite consistent (80/20 or something), but the preference regarding "ovulating/not ovulating" in fact shifted depending on the set of pictures shown. If so, we're basically back to 30 coin tosses. We certainly don't have 1260 independent events from a common underlying distribution.

Re:Bad study (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563346)

Try 1000 women with 6 pictures each (3 in prime and 3 out of prime) then have 100 different people scoring each card.

Or better yet, 6 pictures at 6 different points in their cycles. Fertility is a range of probabilities, not a boolean value.

Re:Bad study (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563646)

Better yet, post them on internet, and millions of people will do the job. However, how do you really know what "best appearance" is? Perhaps for different men "best appearance" ideas are a bit different than the concept for women. Or even among women or men, the "best appearance" concept might differ.

Quite subjective research with few samples to obtain a significant results.

Re:Bad study (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563778)

They did do a real test, look at the actual publication in "Hormones and Behavior".

60% more than chance? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563128)

The summary is misleading.

The observers chose the "high fertility" subject nearly 60% more of the time than would be expected by chance
That would be 80% of the time whereas in the article it states the percentage was 60% of the time, not 60% more.

"Well Beyond Random Chance" (1)

Anti_Climax (447121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563132)

The summary says that the fertile pic was chosen 60% more often than expected by pure chance, however the article states it was simply chosen 60% of the time, and that it was "Well beyond random chance" which is quoted in the article that way as well. The author may have known that the term might not be appropriate to describe a 60%/40% split with 30 subjects and 42 judges.

But hey, keep refining and expanding the group and see if the rate stays steady or increases. Could be very interesting.

Re:"Well Beyond Random Chance" (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563358)

42 judges * 30 subjects = 1260 samples. 60% right is well outside of random chance for that many samples.

Come on (2, Funny)

chanrobi (944359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563174)

What a jip. I wanted to see the pictures they used not the boring words they used in their study write up :)

Re:Come on (2, Funny)

WhyDoYouWantToKnow (1039964) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563472)

What do we want? Pictures of women with obscured faces.
When do we want 'em? Now!

There's a reason for that (5, Interesting)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563182)

When I'm at "the other end of my cycle" aka, my period, I'm bleeding and bloated and cramping and my face is breaking out, and looking pretty is not exactly high on my list. When I'm not, looking pretty is much less of a hassle. So, not exactly rocket science here.

Re:There's a reason for that (3, Interesting)

gfilion (80497) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563432)

When I'm at "the other end of my cycle" aka, my period, I'm bleeding and bloated and cramping and my face is breaking out, and looking pretty is not exactly high on my list. When I'm not, looking pretty is much less of a hassle. So, not exactly rocket science here.

They did a similar study a while ago in a bar. They would ask female volunteers to give a saliva sample and have their picture taken. Then they calculated the area of the body that showed skin and found a correlation between "showing more skin" and ovulation. So it's likely more than just wanting to feel pretty, I mean you don't go in a bar if you feel "bloated and cramping". To me it looks like women are more horny why they are ovulating, which makes perfect sense if you think in terms of evolution.

Re:There's a reason for that (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563474)

The issue of looking good isn't the whole thing though, and we already know it's related to the cycle so that's not new information. Women will also tend to pick lower-cut tops and higher-cut bottoms at that point in their cycle, it's not just about how THEY look, it affects what they choose to wear and such as well. It's an overall shift in mood, which admittedly shouldn't surprise anyone who actually knows any women.

Re:There's a reason for that (4, Funny)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563832)

...which admittedly shouldn't surprise anyone who actually knows any women.

Ah. So that's why this made it as a news item on Slashdot.

Re:There's a reason for that (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563496)

When I'm at "the other end of my cycle" aka, my period, I'm bleeding and bloated and cramping and my face is breaking out, and looking pretty is not exactly high on my list. When I'm not, looking pretty is much less of a hassle. So, not exactly rocket science here.
But all the rocket scientists have real jobs so the scientists that were left over ended up working on this project ;)

Re:There's a reason for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563680)

That has to be one of the more succinct descriptions of exactly why I'm an VERY grateful I'm not a woman.

Where are the pictures? (3, Interesting)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563208)

Too bad we can't actually the results. Then we could judge for ourselves.

Yes but (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563238)

does it really mean anything for us humans? I mean, if women actually attracted more men when they look attractive, then we wouldn't have had a surge of babies 9 months after the northeast power blackout, quite the contrary.

I'm sure human being still have a tendency to "display" their fertility, by looks or by scents, on some unconscious level, simply because we're just really clever monkeys, but I'm not certain humans are receptive to these signals anymore, and if they are, psychological and intelligent decision-making processes in the brain probably supercede animal instincts.

I don't know about you... (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563372)

but experimentally i've verified that i'm more likely to end up in a bed with a cute girl than someone with unfortunate looks.

Also, i've noted that if she grabs my package, i stop caring about looks until after the deed is done, so maybe it's a wash.

Re:I don't know about you... (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563448)

but experimentally i've verified that i'm more likely to end up in a bed with a cute girl than someone with unfortunate looks.

Actually your preferences in girls are entirely societal: I'm assuming you're a westerner who prefers slim, tall, magazine-cover-beautiful girls, but if you were an animal, you'd opt for a fat, squat, muscular-looking female who would be statistically more able to have your babies and care for them.

Also, i've noted that if she grabs my package, i stop caring about looks until after the deed is done, so maybe it's a wash.

That on the other hand reconnects you with your animal ancestry :)

Re:Yes but (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563552)

if women actually attracted more men when they look attractive

Erm, attractiveness is by definition the ability to attract, therefor "attracting more men" = "look more attractive" :-)

Re:Yes but (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563616)

I mean, if women actually attracted more men when they look attractive, then we wouldn't have had a surge of babies 9 months after the northeast power blackout, quite the contrary.
Actually, that's a myth [abc.net.au] .

Re:Yes but (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563670)

I'm sure human being still have a tendency to "display" their fertility, by looks or by scents, on some unconscious level, simply because we're just really clever monkeys, but I'm not certain humans are receptive to these signals anymore, and if they are, psychological and intelligent decision-making processes in the brain probably supercede animal instincts.

I'm pretty damned sure that humans are still receptive to these signals. Haven't you ever been in the presence of someone who you didn't find all that physically attractive, but you couldn't stop paying attention to them? Odds are probably at least as good that it was pheromonal as that it was related to something familiar about their body language or something else. By the same corollary, I can be totally uninterested in even an attractive woman on occasion. Sometimes there's just something about her... sometimes there's just nothing about her.

For all of our so-called civilization there's still the fact that anything that makes you more sexually attractive or sexually attracted makes you more likely to reproduce. The ability to produce and/or detect pheromones should fall into this category quite neatly.

I'd say the biggest impediments to the effects of pheromones would be poor air quality and the use of soaps and deodorants. You're probably going to have a harder time detecting pheromones in a smoky bar when your nose is malfunctioning. You're definitely going to have a harder time of it if they're being masked deliberately.

Animal Instinct (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563776)

psychological and intelligent decision-making processes in the brain probably supercede animal instincts.

Actually, one of the hazards of sex is that animal instincts often do override intelligent decision-making processes. That's why many college campuses try to make condoms as available as possible (through conveniently-located vending machines, mainly, though student health at my college would give them out for free): They know students are going to be having sex, and when you're in bed with someone, you don't want to stop, get in the car, run to the corner store and buy a new pack of condoms.

Pheromones (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563840)

They're called pheromones. And yes, we can most definitely sense these.

Anecdotal: I'm not a particularly attractive guy, but chicks dig me. I can't explain it.

False Advertising (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563382)

So they'll advertise, but never actually have any for sale? It's like shopping at Best Buy.

Re:False Advertising (3, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563674)

So they'll advertise, but never actually have any for sale? It's like shopping at Best Buy.

No, when you buy something at Best Buy, you can return it if the product is defective.

My wife ways ... (3, Interesting)

Tim Ward (514198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563390)

... "only years later did I work out that all my successful driving tests, interviews etc were at times when I was fertile".

YOU FAIL iT.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563394)

pics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563426)

this article is useless without pics!!

Unfortunately (1)

chowdy (992689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563428)

It all balances out come their least fertile time of the month.

Is this the case.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563528)

.... Before or after women get married?

Birth Control (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563536)

So if she is unattractive does that mean I don't need to use birth control?

Inferior Humans (2, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563550)

If HUMAN FEMALES really wanted to advertise fertility they have their nose light up and breasts double in size.

Re:Inferior Humans (2, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563788)

If HUMAN FEMALES really wanted to advertise fertility they have their nose light up and breasts double in size.

It's called "plastic surgery" (at least for the breast size), and it's designed to advertise fertility at some unconscious level. As for the nose thing, only female clown performers do that to attract male clowns.

What Is This "Women" You Speak Of? (0, Redundant)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563594)

And how can I get one?

they just glow more then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563618)


to attribute it to them 'trying' to look better is a complicating variable.
could you say a fresh rose-bud is 'trying' to look better
at that period in its development??

all i can say... is sometimes they just seem to GLOW more then,
and that happens to be attractcive. i've noticed this especially
about pregnant women -- they seem sheathed in a healthy glow
(relative to their own physionagmy) during those months.

2cents.

About Statistical Significance (5, Informative)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563678)

I am a statistician, and reading through the comments hear, am saddened that many readers claim that "statistical significance" could not have been achieved in this study because of a sample size of 30 women. First, that's only part of the random sample in this study, the other part is men sampled to judge the pictures.

Second of all, I have looked up the actual publication in "Hormones and Behavior", and the p-value associated with their main test is .01, which usually signifies statistical significance.

Ultimately, determining whether some difference in populations is due to chance depends on more than just sample size. It depends on how large of a difference you want to detect, and the variance of the measurements within a group. Of course, larger sample sizes help, but it ultimately depends on what you're studying, and the design of the experiment.

So while I definitely applaud being sceptical of all statistics, I urge you to look up the actual publications, read the methodology, and then decide if the results are something you believe. Kneejerk reactions to n = 30 don't really help anyone though.

I have not read through this publication in its entirety yet.
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