Psychologists continue to argue about whether changing sexual preferences of women depending on the stage of the menstrual cycle.
In the last twenty years in psychology, particularly popular hypothesis about the relationship of the menstrual cycle women with the choice of sexual partner. It is believed that the criteria according to which a woman appreciates a man vary depending on whether it is in the stage of ovulation or not. Psychologists came to the conclusion that during ovulation women prefer the one called "macho", that is used to dominate men with high, so to speak, manhood. Moreover, according to some researchers, women manage according to the criteria of masculinity to evaluate the genetic potential of men – that is, in other words, during ovulation women are looking for the perfect genes for their children, and that is why they are drawn to alpha males.
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As example, a relatively recent study, psychologists from the University of Texas at San Antonio, which found that changes in the hormonal background during development of the egg women are forced to see "bad guys" the surest fathers of families. It is clear that character traits inherent in the exemplary family man, a bad combined with a love for adventures, amorous adventures and other signs of "enhanced masculinity". And during ovulation in women, these two images seem to merge into one: in inveterate playboy and "James bonds" they are ready to see the perfect fathers.
However, this hypothesis turned out to be not so simple. Wendy wood (Wendy Wood), Professor of psychology at the University of southern California, decided to subject meta-analysis of work on the relationship of the menstrual cycle and choice of sexual partner. Meta-analysis assumes that we collect and analyse data from many studies on one subject, and as a result we can say how consistent different between articles, how reliable the obtained data, whether on the basis of all the results to formulate some hypothesis, etc.
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Wendy wood and her colleagues checked this way 45 published and 13 unpublished papers, and came to the conclusion that the above relationship is unlikely to exist in reality. In an article in Emotion Review, the authors write that women under high fertility may appreciate a dominant and masculine men, but not too much eager to have sex with them. In those cases when it was possible to detect a greater tendency for women to "alpha males", the result of the study is more like an artifact than accurate data. Generally, this effect depended on the definition determine the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle – that is, the wider was the interpretation of this phase, the greater was the probability to detect psychological craving for macho. And finally, positive results on this topic contained only in the published works, which again adds points to the whole hypothesis as a whole.
It must be emphasized that here we are talking not about like or don't like masculine men at all, and that if the relationship between such love and the physiological cycle. In the end, our sexual preferences depend not only on biology but also on sociocultural factors. Similarly, the combination of biology and social psychology can be born a constant craving for quiet family man, which again will not depend on the phase of the menstrual cycle.
All anything, but a little earlier in the journal Psychological Bulletin has published another meta-analytical review on the same topic. In it, Kelly Gildersleeve (Gildersleeve Kelly) University of California Los Angeles and her colleagues come to opposite conclusions, and fully confirm the link between the sexual preferences of women and their current physiology. And for the meta-analysis were selected largely the same work as in the first, refuting the review. Proponents of the hypothesis believe that in the first case, the authors simply not notice a pattern, losing it in the noise of many others, is not quite correct research.
And here is a question about what women want, fades into the background – much more interesting to understand how we can even explore these phenomena. That is all depends on the methodology of scientific research. Says in an interview with Inside Science News Service Professor of biostatistics from brown University Christopher Schmid (Christopher Schmid), this discrepancy between the two meta-analytical studies happens far more often than we would like. In this particular case, part of the problem may lie in the nature of original works. In the research of such psychologists check one or, at best, a few criteria by which women evaluate men. For example, they show photos or give a voice recording, and it is clear that the voice at the photos adequately cannot be assessed, as well as appearance by voice. That is, guesses can be built, but it's still not the same as directly see or hear. But there is also the sense of smell and touch.
If we are dealing with the analysis of several such studies, the question arises, how exactly are we supposed to compare them? Can we, for example, compare a certain pattern found in the photographs, the lack of regularity in the study listening to the voices? And if so can not compare, why? And what if to take into account socio-cultural factors: education, income, family history and so on? These issues arise not only in the case of this particular hypothesis, but many other psychological (not just psychological) research.
However, because of the obvious importance of meta-analysis. Even if they give different, sometimes contradictory results, they can be used to detect weaknesses in research methods and to discover, to try weaknesses to turn into strengths.