October 09, 2010

Sex, supporters and spurious statistics

Train and torusHere is a fun paper: Patrick M. Markey, Charlotte N. Markey, Changes in pornography-seeking behaviors following political elections: an examination of the challenge hypothesis, Evolution & Human Behavior - 28 September 2010 (found via Nonicoclolasos). The authors found that the number of web searches for pornography increased after the American elections in the states that voted for the winning candidate. Vicariously "winning" through a candidate might be similar to vicariously winning through sports teams, and there are studies that show that the supporters of the winning side get increased testosterone levels. Stanton SJ, Beehner JC, Saini EK, Kuhn CM, Labar KS. Dominance, politics, and physiology: voters' testosterone changes on the night of the 2008 United States presidential election. PLoS One. 2009 Oct 21;4(10):e7543. studied voters before and after Obama was elected, finding that male supporters of the losing candidate had decreases of testosterone levels (no effect in the females). There are of course stress hormone effects too, but they have been inconsistent.

Apropos sex and sports, The Register has an interesting article about the mysterious 40,000 roving sex-workers that are supposed to descend on any major sports event. Basically, whenever there is a major event, the usual anti-prostitution suspects begin to warn about an imminent rise of prostitution and trafficking and demand that Something Must Be Done. Available evidence doesn't support it at all (and, as the article points out, the numbers seem to be entirely made up - and actually quite absurd) but that has never stopped the guardians of public morality on the left and right. Maybe they are convinced that the testosterone effects above are strong enough to drive an increased demand. But that assumes there are more winning than losing supporters.

Posted by Anders3 at October 9, 2010 10:08 AM