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Brain Imaging and Sexual Attraction


Do women's brains respond differently to men at different times of the menstrual cycle? This study tests brain activation (using fMRI) of women (ages 23-28) at 2 phases of their menstrual cycle, while viewing pictures of men (faces, only).


We are currently testing women using hormonal contraceptives and using eye-tracking methods to measure changes in attention across the cycle that may contribute to the observed differences in brain activation


Preliminary results suggest that women show more brain activation in areas related to reward processing during their follicular versus luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.


Drs. Heather Rupp and Julia Heiman of The Kinsey Institute, Thomas James and Dale Sengelaub (Psychology, Indiana University), and Ellen Ketterson (Biology, Indiana University).


National Institutes of Health - Child Health and Human Development Training Grant

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