Dancing, religion and sex

Link to what you get when you mix a choreographer, six cognitive scientists, ten dancers and an anthropologist. Via The Quarter, where art, science and politics meet.

Philosopher and neo-Darwinian Daniel Dennett has a new book out that attempts to explain the human penchant for religiosity in terms of memes. Guardian review here.

Quick on the heels of research showing how sex the old-fashioned way (but not other forms of sexual gratification) can protect against upcoming stressful events, a new study in the same journal shows sex with a partner is 400 per cent more satisfying than a self-loving session, as measured by levels of prolactin – a hormone associated with satiety. Both studies by Stuart Brody.

Update: Daniel Dennett will be in conversation with psychologist Dr. Susan Blackmore, philosopher and theologian Richard Swinborne and sociologist Tariq Modood at the Imax theatre in Bristol, March 15. Click here and scroll down.

2 Comments

  1. Posted March 6, 2006 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Peptide hormones such as prolactin may effect the “type” of sperm delivered during ejaculation…an increase during sex with a partner (for males atleast) only points to the fact that men are aware of reproduction potential…masturbation has always been a tool to help make more efficient sperm distribution, a strategy during competition between males in an environment. I would not be surprised if increase prolactin equated to an increase in “egg catcher” and “killer” types of sperm.
    Whether that means it is more gratifying…I don’t think the study should make that assumption.

  2. Colin Ingram
    Posted March 27, 2006 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I agree, NeverClever, to claim that a 400% increase in hormone equates to 400% increase in gratification is absurd. In order for this to be true there would have to be a linear relationship between perceived gratification and hormone level. I don’t know of anyway to actually measure gratification so this so called hypothesis can only be a premise. Furthermore, in case where an actually chemical response to signaling molecules can be measured it seems that the response is cooperative and quite non-linear. Saturation occurs quickly…meaning that even if there was 1000% more hormone all the signaling receptors were probably saturated at a much lower concentration


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