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Ladies, cortisol may help you detect if a man is interested in you!

Spanish and Dutch researchers have teamed up to study the physiological effects of a women’s presence on 84 men about 20 years of age. The experiment took place during a protocol whereby experimenters asked the participants to solve a Sudoku task until the next part of the protocol. The participants were then taken in a room were there was another person sitting (a man or an attractive women). The experimenter would then give them the pretext that it was time to change the Sudoku and would then leave the subject and the “stimulus” person alone for 5 minutes. Saliva samples were taken before and after this waiting period. The results showed that in the presence of another man, the subjects would present a normal diminution of their levels of the stress hormone cortisol. On the other hand, in the presence of a woman that they deemed to be attractive, an increase in cortisol was recorded. The researchers concluded that this increase could be associated with courting behaviors.

Title: Contact with attractive women affects the release of cortisol in men.

Authors: Leander Van Der Meij, Abraham P. Buunk, Alicia Salvador

Laboratory: Psychology Department, University of Groningen

Journal: Hormones and Behavior (2010)