THURSDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The results of a new speed-dating study suggest that when romantic sparks fly, so do testosterone levels, with mutual attraction giving rise to a hormonal spike in both men and women.
"The findings do suggest that we have some sort of 'radar' to detect who's attracted to us ... but it's not clear from this study whether people are consciously aware of this or not," said one outside expert, Dr. Robin Edelstein, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
In the new study, roughly 200 heterosexual men and women volunteered to take part in about 2,000 speed-dates.
All participants offered up four saliva samples for hormone analysis. Two were taken a week before their speed-dates, while another two swabs were obtained right before and after the dates.
The result: Testosterone levels did not rise as a result of one-sided attraction. When the feeling was mutual, however, both men and women experienced a testosterone bump, the researchers found.
In other words, unless the feeling was mutual, simply being liked by a date ("romantic popularity") or liking a date ("romantic attraction") was not enough to affect hormone levels in either gender.
"Many people think that only men have testosterone, but that's not the case," explained study lead author Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. "It's true that men have much more testosterone than women do, but the links between testosterone and social outcomes are similar for men and women, and testosterone is associated with a stronger sex drive in both sexes."
"For 50 years, researchers have shown that male animals -- rabbits, monkeys, starlings -- exhibit a spike in testosterone and engage in mating-initiation behaviors when introduced to a female they hadn't met previously," Finkel said. But he add
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