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Biotech Medicine Science

FMRI Shows Man Loves Wife More Than Angelina Jolie 347

An anonymous reader writes "We've discussed (at length) functional MRI technology as it pertains to marketing and virtual reality, but now Esquire writer A.J. Jacobs has become the first person to go inside the controversial machine to test the science behind his sex drive. As in, he has fMRI experts read his mind as to whether he's actually more turned on by his young wife or Angelina Jolie. The results, unsurprisingly, are both geeky and hilarious. Would you subject yourself to this kind of reality check?"
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FMRI Shows Man Loves Wife More Than Angelina Jolie

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  • Follow up experiment (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ouimetch ( 1433125 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:55AM (#27991915)
    "In a cruel twist of bioengineering, the romantic craving actually gets more intense post-dumping."

    I would be very interested in seeing this same test run on somebody that just terminated a relationship, and then run once again after a rebound fling. Bonus points if the reboundie was blacked out.
  • Not very controlled. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:57AM (#27991921) Journal

    I don't know, I think comparing studio airbrushed photos of Jolie with candid snaps of his wife may not be the best experiment.

    This whole thing seems not very scientific and more like "hey lets play with our toy".

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @02:10AM (#27991987)

    Would anybody like to place a bet that Brad Pitt's brain would light up brighter for Jacobs' wife (assuming she's reasonably hot)? Does it mean either guy would even consider trading wives? Not for a second.

    And let's not forget that there's a measurable time lag before the hormones kick in and that immediate flash of reflexive horniness morphs into something similar but far from identical.

  • by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:00AM (#27992765) Journal

    Myself and others wax scientific and rant extensively about the problems associated with using this technique. I'll keep mine short this time by keeping it to an example. From TFA in that eminent science journal Esquire:

    "When you speak, blood flows to the language centers. When you blink your eyes, it flows to the eye-blinking centers."

    The same region that makes something happen is also responsible for inhibiting that action. Each contains both accelerator and brakes. When you withhold speech, blood flows to the language centers. When you prevent your eyes from blinking, blood flows to the eye blinking centers. When the reaction is "I love my wife", blood flows to the I love my wife centers. When the reaction is "I don't love my wife", blood flows to the I love my wife centers.

    It is not possible for fMRI to tell the difference between a positive and negative reaction, and is in fact measuring both reactions being considered prior to resolution in the sampling time. The two reactions may use some different Hebbian neural assemblies within the same region, but the low (ie. several cubic millimeters) spatial resolution of MRI catches both of them plus much more in the same voxel (3D pixel). The same problem emerges when different regions "light up" in the different conditions. It can't be determined whether that is excitatory or inhibitory activity.

    By way of providing a reference, the above is what I was taught by a biophysicist who was working on his dissertation on this subject under Peter Fox, originator of the use of MRI for functional testing (ie. 'boxcar' design), including the use of SPM (statistical probability mapping) for analysis in comparing the MRI results in the different conditions. The above should also make it clear that using fMRI as a "lie detector" is fruitless.

  • by Ozeroc ( 1146595 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:54AM (#27995467)
    My answer to that (after 22 years) is always "Your a$$ drives my crazy and makes me want to fsck you." So far, so good. Oz
  • I'm the freak who doesn't have a dominant hemisphere...Go figure. Every time I test, it runs right down the middle. Supposedly it runs that way for about 2% of the population. Anyway, I'll throw my opinion out there...FOR SCIENCE!

    There is definitely something in the chin/lips, especially if you're looking at a picture of Voight when he's younger.

    For me though, my perception is drawn to the eyes/nose triangle first, and then the first thing I notice about her mouth is that little smirk she affects. I'd never noticed that she had a particularly strong jaw until just now.

    Even after studying Voight pictures for a while (you owe me for that, btw), the resemblance doesn't leap out at me when I switch to an AJ. photo.

    Anyway, my subjective 2 cents, for what it's worth.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:06AM (#27995691) Journal

    That is, of course, a possibility.

    My own _guess_ would be more along the lines of: See, they too thought that some foreigners have huge dicks. It seems to me like that's a constant human complex. There's always someone, some tribesman somewhere who's got a 3 ft long dick and is gonna steal your women. We make such generalizations about blacks today. But funnily enough some blacks, at their first encounter with europeans, thought that the europeans had such long dicks that they wrap them around their waist. And the Greeks thought that the uncivilized germanic and celtic barbarians up north have, you guessed, huge dicks.

    In a way, it's funny. The Greeks (who probably averaged the same approx 6 inches as the rest of the species) thought that the northern europeans have huge phaluses. And now the descendants of those northern europeans, people who in all likeness aren't hung any worse than those barbarians who complexed the Greeks, are in turn complexed and think that some other uncout tribe down the line have giant dicks. How the history repeats itself...

    Except the Greeks apparently chose to go the other way around about it. (At least officially.) Pretty much, "ok, we're proud to be Greeks instead of barbarians, with all that that means." If the barbarians were thought to have huge dicks, then by Zeus the Greeks were proud that theirs are smaller. 'Cause that makes them proper Greeks instead of barbarians.

  • Well, so was Reagan to be honest. Or Lenin, or JFK...

    Your point about all heads of notable states being responsible for some deaths is taken, but you missed the bigger picture. Although he was never a head of any state (his highest position was head of Cuba's secret police), Che Guevara exceeded all of those people you listed by personally executing scores of people — and enjoying it. Contrary to the GP-posting, he was not a "cold-blooded" killer. He was perfectly hot-blooded and passionate in his killing of people, whose only fault was disagreeing with him and Castro.

    That passion is what, likely, keeps him so attractive to the youth (and the old idiots, who should know better by the time they are 25). They hate Bush and Obama for trying accused foreigners in "military commissions" rather than regular courts, but remain fond of Che Guevara, who said: "I don't need proof to execute a man — I only need proof that it's necessary to execute him." And, indeed, signed thousands of execution orders without any hearings...

  • by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:28PM (#27998569)

    You're a dumb person, that's all. Nobody thinks he's a saint. I think some falsely infer that people with Che shirts/tattooos/whatever know much about Che at all. Most common people don't associate him with communism, they associate him with being a rebel. And he was.

    He was a hard man, as are most rebels. He killed people unjustly. His ideology was fundamentally flawed. You could make an argument he was a bad man, though comparing him to Hitler is laughable.

    But above all, he led an interesting life and died an interesting death. He had an impact on the world. HE fought for what he believed, abeit however misguided his beliefs. That's why some people find him fascinating and a symbol of something they would like to identify with.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982