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some psychological findings


I recently read in Psychology Today that "beautiful people have more daughters." It also states that if parents have traits that are best suited for sons (like wealth and high status) they have more sons than daughters.

The article then went on to say,

"Physical attractiveness, while a universally positive quality, contributes even more to women's reproductive success than to men's. The generalized hypothesis would therefore predict that physically attractive parents should have more daughters than sons. Once again, this is the case. Americans who are rated "very attractive" have a 56 percent chance of having a daughter for their first child, compared with 48 percent for everyone else. "

We have three daughters.

It looks like, um, (nervous chuckle) evolution has decided (stilted pause) my husband and I are (another pause) beautiful people. I'm not making this stuff up, I'm just reporting Psychology Today's findings. We certainly don't have wealth or status, so I guess that's why we don't have sons.

The article really is interesting. It's called, "Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature." It also discusses why most suicide bombers are Muslim and why sexual harassment isn't sexist, among other things.

In another article at Psychology Today, "Sweating Makes You Smart" I learned that moderate exercise (a brisk 45-minute walk three days per week) can help strengthen the brain as well as reduce the effects of aging.

Physical exertion induces the cells in the brain to reinforce old connections between neurons and to forge new connections. This denser neuron network is better able to process and store information, essentially resulting in a smarter brain.

Naturally it cited the requisite studies on the scientist's best friend -- the lab rat. Of interest to me was this line: "In 2003, they found that rats who were fed lots of saturated fats and sugar -- such as the bacon-cheeseburger-and-extra-large-Coke diet that many Americans love -- had less BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) in the brain and did not recover as well from brain injuries." (emphasis added)

I interpret this to mean after those rats were fed the cheeseburger and Coke diet for a while they sustained damaged to their brains. It makes me imagine a scientist in a white lab coat smashing a rat's head with a hammer. But not hard enough to kill it. Gross. Then he (those scientists are always men, aren't they?) charts the "brain damaged" rat's recovery.

Now don't get the wrong idea and think I'm a card-carrying member of PETA, because I'm not. I think it's a necessary evil that part of scientific testing involves scrambling animal's organs in an attempt to further human medicine. I also find it distasteful. This is why I am not a scientist.

As an observer, though, I still think it's interesting in a train wreck kind of way.


2007-07-19 at 7:18 a.m.

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