Twilight Zone / German Research O Mein Gott!

I’m Asperger, a supposedly defective creature who lacks empathy, emotion or social understanding. My reaction to all these “overwrought” studies is that nothing in the human environment functions naturally. I have never had any difficulty identifying a person to whom I am attracted, nor I have I ever been at a loss to know why. It seems that it is neurotypicals who exist in a state of perpetual confusion.

Silly American Research is apparently highly contagious.

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with members from a large number of institutions in Germany has conducted a study that has revealed more about the way interpersonal attraction works in the brain. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes two experiments they conducted with volunteers, (Grad Students by any chance?)their results and what they believe was revealed (German fudge) about the nature of the mechanism of attraction between people.

Most everyone has experienced near instant to someone else, whether of a social or sexual nature (how does one parse sexual and social attraction?), but few are able to pin down exactly why they felt that attraction. (Oh dear…I think the average American could give a thorough accounting of person-to-person attraction.) Based on two experiments they conducted with human volunteers (What? no mice?), the researchers suggest it may have to do with matching .

To learn more about attraction, the researchers ran two experiments, the first consisted of showing 19 male and 21 female volunteers, videos of six different women as they experienced fear or sadness. The volunteers were asked to choose which emotion was being shown, and then to mark down how confident they were in their choice. (Not again! How many millions of times has this type of non-experiment been repeated? Would someone at least try to think creatively? To gauge how much of an attraction they volunteers felt for the women in the videos, they were asked to enlarge a picture of the woman both before and after seeing her in the video I’d love to hear the scientific justification of this step) each was also asked to answer questions about each woman, such as how much they would like to meet her in real life, if she would understand them, etc. (So, the female volunteers were Lesbians?)

The second experiment was run with a different set of volunteers who were also asked to watch the woman in the videos, but the second group did so while undergoing an fMRI imaging—the researchers were specifically looking for activity in the part of the brain known to be associated with rewards.

The final phase of the experiment involved combining data from both experiments to see if any patterns might emerge. The researchers report that most of (What does German fudge taste like?)  the volunteers were able to identify the emotions being portrayed, and the more confident they felt they were able to identify the correct emotion, the more attracted to her they felt.

This is backwards. Isn’t it more likely that the volunteers “connected” with the woman BECAUSE they were attracted to her?”

This was confirmed in the fMRI scans—reward centers in the brains lit up more when watching women they felt they could read their emotions better.

Please read my blog post on the invalid use of brain scans in this type of study. 

The researchers propose that their results suggest that in addition to , people are attracted to other people due to their own feelings of similarity to another person, which gives them a feeling of understanding, or connectedness. OMG! This is Psychology 101 textbook stuff.

Explore further: Study shows men better at reading emotions in other men than in women

More information: A neural link between affective understanding and interpersonal attraction, PNAS,

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences search and more info website



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