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Archive for Monday, October 17, 2011

KU prof’s research links slow economy to increase in men’s desire for more sexual partners

October 17, 2011

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Omri Gillath, associate professor of social psychology at Kansas University, has conducted research that suggests that men, when faced with an environment that threatens their survival, turn to a sexual strategy that maximizes the potential for reproduction — essentially, that a tough economy leads to more promiscuity.

Omri Gillath, associate professor of social psychology at Kansas University, has conducted research that suggests that men, when faced with an environment that threatens their survival, turn to a sexual strategy that maximizes the potential for reproduction — essentially, that a tough economy leads to more promiscuity.

A prolonged economic slump could mean more than just losses of material wealth; it could spark a desire in men to seek more sexual partners, a Kansas University researcher has found.

Omri Gillath, associate professor of social psychology, said that men, when faced with an environment that threatens their survival, turn to a sexual strategy that maximizes the potential for reproduction.

In his lab, he placed people in situations and had them think about their own death, a condition that relates to low survivability conditions. Afterward, he showed the people images, including both sexual and non-sexual images. He measured their heart rates to indicate their level of arousal. Men’s rates of arousal increased after thinking about their own death.

Other situations that also threaten survivability could have similar effects, such as going off to fight in a war.

“All of these signs would push you towards more partners and more sex,” Gillath said.

His findings are based in part on the established “life history theory,” which has helped explain low birthrates in richer countries and the lower age of first sexual encounters in poorer neighborhoods.

Gillath likened a worsening economic situation to living on the savannah when food and water become scarce.

He said that if men in committed relationships begin to experience these kinds of feelings, it’s probably best to air it out with your current partner, which could serve to build the relationship even further.

“It’s not a new excuse for guys to have sex,” Gillath said. The desires may be there, but “at the end of the day, it’s your decision.”

The research will be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in November.

Comments

DillonBarnes 2 years, 11 months ago

Surely I'm not the only one who sees the difference between an economic slump and your own mortality.

Either Gillarth has presented a poor analogy or, much more likely, LJW has inadequately presented how he made that connection.

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davidnta 2 years, 11 months ago

More likely the later. Research doesn't get published haphazardly. It's difficult to get the seal of approval through blind peer review and many times there are edits that need to be made before it gets published. Sometimes it can take years before something gets published.

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tolawdjk 2 years, 11 months ago

You are confusing the base, animal "survival" instinct with a more developed, thinking "civilized" insticnt.

The researchers are saying that family doesn't even enter the thought, just the furthering of your genes. Sow the wild oats, roll the tumbleweed where the wind blows...no real thought to things like child support, alimony, or disturbing things like that. A stable relationship just means more mouths to feed and watchout for.

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Christine Anderson 2 years, 11 months ago

Excellent comment! So true, so true.

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lunacydetector 2 years, 11 months ago

this reminds me of george costanza......they need to study the prowess of men with no jobs, no money, who live with their parents.

since when do women like poor guys?........ women don't like poor guys, they only like rich guys.....

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Grundoon Luna 2 years, 11 months ago

Lots of poor guys seem to be reproducing, so that pretty much blows your whole argument.

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KU_cynic 2 years, 11 months ago

I guess the economy really sucked when I was 17, because was I a quite horndog then.

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KU_cynic 2 years, 11 months ago

I guess the economy really sucked when I was 17, because was I a quite horndog then.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 11 months ago

This follows Gillath's previous work that a strong economy causes an increase in a male's desire for more sexual partners.

Next up, Gillath will tackle the tough issue of the sun rising in the east.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 11 months ago

This work appears in this week's issue of "The New England Journal of Things I Try to Get My Wife to Believe."

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Christine Anderson 2 years, 11 months ago

Well I uh, don't really think, uh, this research is valid. Can't say why. LOL.

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Sparko 2 years, 11 months ago

My guess is that diminished economic fortunes would actually reduce opportunity, but this whole project was covered by some guy named Darwin already. . .

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LadyJ 2 years, 11 months ago

LOL as if guys really needed an excuse. Is he doing one on women too? Bet the guys have some thoughts on that one. :)

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grammaddy 2 years, 11 months ago

Any excuse will do...for some.

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Scott Kaiser 2 years, 11 months ago

What nonsense. Is this the kind of crap they are now reaching at KU?

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pmsharp 2 years, 11 months ago

That figures, we spend good money on such garbage, if that's all some of your professors have to do, put them out in the real world and find out how it really is!!To think think his parents spent good money for a education and got these kind of results, get real man!!!!!!!!!

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rtwngr 2 years, 11 months ago

Ground breaking research! I feel dumber for having read this article.

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thinkagain 2 years, 11 months ago

I think it sounds like very biological reasoning. If times are tough and survival is questionable, a male might want to increase the odds of viable offspring through multiple females. Especially if you could find a female whose partner was more stable than yourself. I have heard of a bird who nests with the best nest maker but mates with the best looking bird. I would not say the research was frivolous just that it might be proving something that was suspected via anecdotal information. That's what research does.

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thepianoman 2 years, 11 months ago

This is a bunch of hog wash...Geezz....

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KS 2 years, 11 months ago

And just how much did this cost the taxpayers and students (increased tuition) for such a stupid study? No wonder tuition is so high. Doesn't this guy have better things to do? Good grief!

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Frmrksn 2 years, 11 months ago

I laughed out loud when I saw the headline! This guy got paid for that? There goes the AAU accreditation. When the B12 folds we might be able to get into the SunBelt Conference.

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Horace 2 years, 11 months ago

As an aside, my research links growing economy to increase in men’s desire for more sexual partners.

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friendlyjhawk 2 years, 11 months ago

Bet the Koch brothers can have Brownback legislate something to stop this outrage! And to check the immigration papers of the researcher.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 11 months ago

The dude's got that head-tilt and concerned expression down pat.

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wdl 2 years, 11 months ago

Just one more answer to a question no one asked. Or cared about. A very poor example of job justifcation!

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wdl 2 years, 11 months ago

Just one more answer to a question no one asked. Or cared about. A very poor example of job justifcation!

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Tracy Rogers 2 years, 11 months ago

And they can't figure out what things to cut to try and balance the budget??? Give me a break!

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labmonkey 2 years, 11 months ago

How much waste of taxpayer money is this guy receiving in grants?

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curmudgeon 2 years, 11 months ago

Any excuse works for me!

"I can't help myself! There's an economic slump. Give me some sugar baby!"

What a waste of time and money...

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Richard Payton 2 years, 11 months ago

Could be that an increase of alcoholic beverage sales does the same thing. Too much booze cause an inability to make wise decisions. During tough times alcohol sales improve, which could lead to more sexual partners. Since alcohol lowers inhibitions a few more adult encounters may be desired by those having a few too many drinks.

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somedude20 2 years, 11 months ago

I wonder how many future welfare children will be created at the love-in at South Park?

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bd 2 years, 11 months ago

Sad part is we are paying this idiots salary!

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okiedave 2 years, 11 months ago

I stand amazed that the drive for recognition in the academic field spurs professors to come up with headline grabbing theories. It is well known that during times of stress reproduction actaully declines. Men under stress do not perform well in the sexual arena. On the other hand, men who are doing well financially feeling on top of their game and feeling powerful are those who feel most energetic about seeking sexual relationships. Relaxation, not stress, promotes sexual interest, In addition, concerns about death promote stress. I find the theory that men who are thinking about their death are going out and looking for sex to reproduce a rather laughable theory. Men worried about death are much more likely too busy feeding the kids he has kids, going to their doctor, looking for work, putting affairs in order, filling their prescriptions and worried about their declining bank balance and declining libido to be thinking about having babies to feed and raise.

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Dan Blomgren 2 years, 11 months ago

I hope to God our tax dollars weren't spent on this useless and trivial nonsense.

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heygary 2 years, 11 months ago

One has to look no further than Africa to validate the good Professor's findings. Rampant and chronic starvation hand-in-hand with exploding population growth. Don't let comments from those who confuse their performance anxiety with optimizing the potential for reproduction get you down!

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okiedave 2 years, 11 months ago

Chronic starvation results in chronic death by starvation. More starvation = more deaths. The population in Europe during the bubonic plague decreased by about 30 to 40%. There is no evidence that men were getting more amorous in order to reproduce themselves before they died of the Plague. There was no population boom during the bubonic plaque. The baby boom in the U.S. occured after WWII when the world was at peace and men were prospering, not during WWII when men were worried about death. If the good professor is looking at isolated instances of baby booms in war torn countries of Africa, he should also factor in whether that baby boom is spurred by the violence of rape rather than the validation of his theory that men are interested in having children with the women in the village that they are pillaging.

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David Reynolds 2 years, 11 months ago

I think this professor needs to be fired for misrepresenting his study (?) for real research.

There is a mental disconnect going on with this man.

And why is he saying it is a male issue only. It takes a male & a female in most casds. Possibly he...oh well.

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verity 2 years, 11 months ago

I think there are a number of problems with this kind of research--to name just a few:

Psychology, at least it seems to me, is often not a very scientific discipline. Take Freud for instance. He had a number of preconceived notions about woman and sex and then "proved" them in his studies. Years ago, when he was still a god in psychology, a number of us female students told our professor that we didn't have "penis envy" (can I say that?), but he declared that we did---because Freud said so and Freud was always right. We remained unconvinced.

In studies involving people, it's very hard to account for all the variabilities and impossible to control for all of them. A study showed that men who drink five or more cups of tea a day are healthier than men who don't. Consumer's Reports pointed out that doesn't necessarily show that tea makes someone healthier---it might be that men who drink tea tend to live healthier lives in general.

As has already been pointed out, thinking about your death and economic stress is not the same thing.

"His findings are based in part on the established 'life history theory,'. . ." If true that would tend to tell you that he found what he expected to find. That always tends to put a finger on the scale.

There's a lot of research that people think sounds foolish but does have value, and this could have value in the population growth field, but I think there are too many "ifs" and "coulds" involved here for it to be meaningful

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verity 2 years, 11 months ago

We were real sure . . . that we didn't want any of their junk.

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Tony Kisner 2 years, 11 months ago

Thanks Omri! I "aired out" my feelings last night. Did not go as maybe anticipated. You know any smart guys in that law school at KU. Seems I may need one and your published work to defend myself.

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