A new study from a team of Caltech researchers showed that a few quick electric shocks to the brain may lead people to perceive others as more attractive than they did before the shocks. Though the research opens up vast new frontiers for legions of people heading to the Meatpacking district to get laid, it has more serious implications as well.
As lead researcher Vikram Chib tells is, the way people rate others’ attractiveness is a good indicator for mental health issues like depression and schizophrenia. If you could find the key to attractiveness perception, the idea goes, you might find some clues about those other things as well.
Chib explains in the study’s abstract:
Participants with more enhanced prefrontal/midbrain connectivity following stimulation exhibited greater increases in attractiveness ratings. These results illustrate that noninvasive direct stimulation of prefrontal cortex can induce neural activity in the distally connected midbrain, which directly effects behavior. Furthermore, these results suggest that this tDCS protocol could provide a promising approach to modulate midbrain functions that are disrupted in neuropsychiatric disorders.
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