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January 2011



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Article Date: 25 Aug 2009

When it comes to potential mates, women may be as complicated as men claim they are, according to psychologists.

“We have found that women evaluate facial attractiveness on two levels — a sexual level, based on specific facial features like the jawbone, cheekbone and lips, and a nonsexual level based on overall aesthetics,” said Robert G. Franklin, graduate student in psychology working with Reginald Adams, assistant professor of psychology and neurology, Penn State. “At the most basic sexual level, attractiveness represents a quality that should increase reproductive potential, like fertility or health.”

On the nonsexual side, attractiveness can be perceived on the whole, where brains judge beauty based on the sum of the parts they see.

“But up until now, this (dual-process) concept had not been tested,” Franklin explained. The researchers report the findings of their tests in the current issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology..

To study how women use these methods of determining facial attractiveness, the psychologists showed fifty heterosexual female college students a variety of male and female faces. They asked the participants to rate what they saw as both hypothetical dates and hypothetical lab partners on a scale of one to seven. The first question was designed to invoke a sexual basis of determining attractiveness, while the second was geared to an aesthetic one. This part of the experiment served as a baseline for next phase.

Read Article in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161768.php

Why a broken heart really does hurt: Scientists find social rejection is physically painful

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 9:52 AM on 19th August 2009

Scientists may have discovered the real reason why Sandy was so hurt when Danny snubbed her after their summer of loving – her broken heart may have been genuinely painful.

Researchers have found a genetic link between physical pain and social rejection, which means the good-girl character in Grease may have found breaking up with her holiday romance truly excruciating.

Psychologists at the University of California studied the gene responsible for regulating the body’s most potent painkillers, known as mu-opioids.

sandy and danny in Grease

Painful: Scientists have identified that the gene responsible for regulating the body’s painkillers is also involved in sensitivity to unpleasant social experiences

They found that people with a rare variation of the mu-opoid receptor gene, OPRM1, were more sensitive to rejection and experience more brain evidence of distress than those with the more common form.

Study co-author Prof Naomi Eisenberger said: ‘Individuals with the rare form of the pain gene, who were shown in previous work to be more sensitive to physical pain, also reported higher levels of rejection sensitivity and showed greater activity in social pain-related regions of the brain when they were excluded.’

Read Article in Full:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1207570/Why-broken-heart-really-does-hurt-Scientists-social-rejection-physically-painful.html

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