Monday, April 14

A Boost of Confidence: Exercising the Body and Mind

It is that time again. I have navigated the blogosphere and discovered two posts that were both informative and enlightening. I think it is generally true that all individuals could benefit from a boost of confidence. There are so many ways in which one can acquire that boost, the simplest of which is just a little bit of exercise. A variety of complications make things like volunteering at an organization a rather daunting process, but Anne Mahlum has managed to combine both of these methods rather effortlessly. In "Self-Empowerment Through Running," Dr. John Grohol, of PsychCentral, talks about Ms. Mahlum's remarkable ability to combine her exercise routine and compassion for human kind. At Cognitive Daily, Dave Munger talks about self-esteem building through different forms of exercise, and whether there are any differences in how one builds it. Again, for your convenience, I have posted the comments below and have linked them to their respective websites.

“Self-Empowerment Through Running”

Dr. Grohol,
What a powerful message this post and Ms. Mahlum send to us all. I must admit, I was misguided by the title of this post and assumed it was something different altogether, but in the end, it is quite fitting. My one concern is one you bring up yourself, "The most interesting thing to me is that the running club is actually a support group in disguise. Since “support group” often has a negative connotation, people feel more comfortable joining an affinity group." I do not think it is best to front as something other than what an organization is; if what is wrong with a support group is the hidden agenda, like the Alcoholics Anonymous influencing Christianity on its members, then how does that differ from this group? It is not my intention to hamper Ms. Mahlum's efforts in helping the homeless, but your comment put my mental gears into work. Would the homeless not pursue this wonderful opportunity either way? Something that also needs to be taken into consideration is the longevity of this program. Like many other groups, novelty wears out quite quickly and interest in programs feign. What makes this program any different? What ways can we help to further this program? Thank you for this post, which was not only inspiring but informative. Sometimes things like these seem impossible to establish, but people like Ms. Mahlum show us that a little bit of effort and a lot of heart go a long way.

“Is yoga better than other exercise for boosting self-esteem?”


Thanks for the post. I picked up on a few great tips now! If I had the choice between yoga and walking, I think I'd rather do the walking seeing that the results are the same. Although, in my opinion, the results are not the same. I have taken a few yoga classes, as well as tried to stay fit with walking, and the results are nowhere near each other. Walking did manage to whip me into shape, but yoga gave me that boost of confidence, as well as a rush of endorphins, that walking never did. My results were the opposite of what you posted--I felt much more physically self-confident after yoga than I did with the walking, and much stronger after walking than with yoga because my stamina increased so much. To be fair, in both cases my self-esteem went through the roof after desirable results were achieved, and vice-versa. In response to your perception of exertion for both being equal, hands down yoga is requires much more exertion than walking, at least in my experience. It seems obvious that yoga should require a lot of exertion, even at a beginner level as it requires full body exertion, whereas walking requires only leg work, would you not agree? As you stated "It's also possible that over a longer period or more intense participation, the physical and global self-esteem measures would also rise to significance," so the true difference of effects of yoga and walking on self-esteem are yet to be established, but any boost of confidence and self-esteem is beneficial to everyone.

Monday, April 7

"Weight-ism:" The Socially Acceptable Prejudice

Age, gender, sexual orientation, race--there are a number of factors that can single out a person without regard to their true self. Although it is illegal to discriminate against any one of these factors in a work environment, one type of discrimination continues to plague society. ABC News' Lee Dye wrote an article on a study conducted for a decade, published March 28 of this year, by research scientist and trained clinical psychologist Rebecca Puhl, of Yale University, and co-author Dr. Tatiana Andreyeva. The two studied a collection of surveys on "weight-ism," the discrimination of the overweight. An update to their data collected in 1995-1996 resulted in Puhl and Andreyeva having found an unsettling trend, an "acceleration" in weight bias. From 1996 through 2006, discrimination against the overweight had not only significantly risen, but also became more prevalent than other forms of prejudice. Since then, I venture to say that the tendency to discriminate against the obese continues. Puhl and Andreyeva assert that this will continue to "add fuel to the obesity epidemic," reminding one that obesity is a disease for which the individual is not responsible. They even go as far as to say that one "really can't expect [...] to lose more than 10 percent of [...] body weight and be able to keep that off." From personal experience, I beg to differ.

Puhl's claim is backed by years of scientific research that has indubitably linked obesity to genetics. Using the argument that race, age, gender, and the like, are factors out of our control, she ventures to say that weight is no different. The belief that it is difficult to sustain weight loss over ten percent of one's body weight is backed by expert panels, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Puhl does not discourage people to lose weight rather to refrain from believing that obesity is a "personal responsibility" one can easily overcome through will and determination alone. Thus, those discriminated against face an even tougher battle because of the stigma and stereotyping they endure. She states that weight loss is difficult to sustain and obesity is a genetic problem, as well as the social environment that has been cultivated in American lives continues "weight-ist" progression. True, it is hard enough to lose weight without the added social pressure and criticism, but something is amiss in her argument.

Dye makes mention of a healthier lifestyle being far more expensive than living off fast food and processed goods. Puhl would agree with Dye that when one cannot say "no to just two Girl Scout cookies," it should not be left to personal responsibility. At this point I must draw the line because Puhl downplays personal responsibility. Saying that the "toxic food environment" we live in keeps obesity at bay, Puhl alludes that this environment causes a mental warfare, a battle over nutritional choices, and that this very same environment nurtures the socially acceptable act of weight discrimination. Nutritional facts are there for the individual to take responsibility by becoming aware of their consumption though. Instead of eating inexpensive snacks, like chips and soda, or a cheeseburger, why not use those finances to buy a loaf of bread, sandwich meat, and condiments to make several meals a day? Should the government interfere by posting signs at every corner to remind one of proper nutrition? Should society create a nutrition police to control every personal choice of food consumption? Legal battles have already surfaced against numerous fast food producers, most notably against McDonald's as was famously documented in the film Super Size Me. Just how much is one personally responsible for their eating habits?

I'm not excusing discrimination against the overweight as that would be hypocritical, nor am I belittling Puhl's research, but at some point the individual must take accountability for their part. Instead of litigating, and shifting the blame to exterior motives, take the initiative to not only change behavior, but also take a stand against those who make it difficult to lose weight, whether its a stranger, a bully, a relative, or a corporation. Puhl's argument supports the "victim's" learned helplessness. The correlation between bullying and criticizingexists which perpetuates a vicious cycle of depression and obesity, but to say "that obesity brings social stigmatism and stereotyping, and that can lead to depression, discrimination and binge eating, so the problem just gets worse," is dangerous. Obviously, "weight-ism" being socially acceptable is an issue, one that needs to be rectified, but to disregard personal responsibility is a danger in itself. If "weight-ism" were outlawed, it would leave far too much room to be abused. The fact of the matter is weight can be controlled, while age, race, sexual orientation (controversially) cannot.

Puhl's research also brings to light findings that women are more at risk to face discrimination at different levels. For example, women begin to experience discrimination when their BMI (body mass index) reaches 27, as opposed to men at 35; moderately obese women are likely to face discrimination three times as likely as their male counterpart; and weight is the third most prevalent type of discrimination against women, under gender and age, and the fourth most prevalent among all adults. This upsetting news leaves one to ponder that both weight and negative thoughts and actions (prejudice/bullying/discrimination) are personal responsibilities, which no one should surrender to or give up to the general consensus. Athough Puhl mentions obesity is not strictly a medical "disease," she grossly undermines personal responsibility and fails to look at the overall picture and bring in other explanations for its prevalence. It is true that external factors play a role in many cases of obesity, but personal responsibility and personal will are also determinants in controlling weight.

Friday, March 28

Psych 2.0: Connecting the Psychological World

The Internet can be a daunting place to look through for resourceful websites. As in my previous post, I have yet again traversed the world wide web in order to create a substantially informative link roll (located to the right), with great success. In concordance with IMSA (Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy) and Webby Awards criteria, the following websites and blogs are sure to provide one with great psychology resources. Brain Connection is one of the greatest of the sites I have come by. Like PsychCentral, it is a site dedicated to developments in neurology, providing a blog of its own, news updates, education tools, and its own library of information. The site is professionally designed and easy to navigate, the only drawback is its extensive focus on brain functions. Even so, this site is highly recommended. Yet another comparison is that of Scientific American which, like Psychology Today, contributes articles in their mind and brain section. Updated several times throughout the day, Scientific American is both an online and print subscription expanding its content via blogs. An added bonus is its RSS feed feature, to keep one up to date on new posts. Clinical Psychiatry News is a newspaper focused on new developments in clinical psychology, accompanied by colleague commentary on current research. Despite its bland aesthetic, its archival news database is invaluable. In regards to evolutionary psychology, one of the newer branches in the field of psychology, I have come across the Human Behavior and Evolution Society. Simple layout and graphics make this website both easy to use, but dull and unappealing. Irregardless, this website is resourceful; an introduction to evolutionary psychology, journals, online courses--these are only some of the many academic assets. At, the goal is to be informative, relying on professionally written articles for various branches of psychology. The information extends from basic knowledge of the discipline to in-depth analysis on topics of choice. The medical website, WebMD, is a general information site geared toward educating the general public, acting as a pre-medical intervention source. This website runs a risk, through no fault of its own, due to its popularity and credibility because many may consult to this as an alternative to medical help.

At PsyBlog, Jeremy Dean, a freelance writer who majored in law psychology, and mastered in research methods at University College London, writes on a variety of categories in relation to psychology. An example of less is better, the blog is easy to navigate and easy to use; nearly all the posts and resources are only one click away. At In-Mind, an on-line quarterly magazine for social psychology who's "purpose is to interact with everyone that is interested in everyday human concerns and to inform you on the hot trends in scientific social psychological research." Edited by professionals, and consulted by university students, In-mind provides blog posts, media, and online research on current phenomenon in social psychology. Also, Psycholinguistics Arena has journals, book reviews, and a blog arena--the conglomeration of blog posts, linked to the original source. They even have a student psychology website, suitable for undergraduate and graduate level students. Similarly, Psychology Bloggers Network is "a community for people blogging in the areas of psychology, mental health, and neuroscience." In its network, people from all over use the blogosphere to further research the three aforementioned areas, and support each other's work in the process. With the difficulty in finding faults for these websites, all are sure to supply not only students and professionals with quality resources, but the general public as well.

Monday, March 10

Battle of the Bulge: The Psychology of Appetite and Diet

Obesity, a growing epidemic in the U.S., is a serious disease many Americans are trying to overcome yet Americans are the ones losing the battle of the bulge. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a press release last November indicating that although obesity in adults is statistically insignificant since 2003-2004, an alarming sixty-four percent of America is overweight, and a little over half of that is considered obese. The question: why and how? Studies of eating behavior, in rats and humans alike, have shown that appetite is a complex system that is yet to be understood. Karen Wright, science writer and contributor to Psychology Today, explains in her article, "Consuming Passions," that hunger and craving play an integral part in dieting and weight management. In modern society, where it is common to live to eat as opposed to eat to live, the difference between the two has been obscured. It is easy for one to stop by a fast food restaurant for a meal, especially with dollar menus making the process rather affordable. As a living testament to will power, I know it is a daunting task to lose weight, but I continue to reach my goal. Yes, brain-hunger is a distraction, but a restrictive diet is not suitable to the mind, or the body. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and determination can keep that hunger in check.

Hunger, or "stomach-hunger," is the body's way of demanding energy, whereas craving, or "brain-hunger," is the mind's desire to eat for pleasure. An empty stomach produces a hormone called ghrelin, the hormone responsible for those hunger pangs all too common in college students throughout the nation. Ghrelin, in conjunction with a drop in blood-sugar levels and the resulting decline of insulin in the bloodstream, primes the body for a meal. Any food intake produces the hormone leptin, which initiates satiety. These four visceral messengers communicate with the central nervous system to regulate appetite. The hypothalamus, specifically the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), is also responsible for regulating appetite; but this antiquated model has been replaced with a biochemical one, one which takes into account neurotransmitters, hormones, peptides, and receptors "within and beyond the hypothalamus," Wright explains. The model, which neuroscientist Satya Kalra of the University of Florida at Gainesville calls the "appetite-regulating orchestra," works like the previous one with notable adaptation: the stomach produces ghrelin, in turn activating the hypothalamus to release the neuropeptide Y (NPY), known as the most potent appetite enhancer thus far. Ghrelin also suppresses the production of proopiomelanocortin (POMC), an appetite inhibitor. Leptin slows the production of neuropeptides Y and promotes POMC production. Some visceral signals reach the brain via nerve cells rather than the bloodstream. A satiety peptide called cholecystokinin (CCK) is released in the small intestine, possibly triggering the vagus nerve, which runs from the stomach to the brain.

Scientists and researchers turned to leptin injections to curb appetite, but to their dismay, it was not the cure to controlling it. In actuality, obese people have high leptin levels leading researchers to think that brain cells of most overweight people do not register leptin for its inhibiting property. Ironically, the body recognizes when there is a deficiency of leptin, which the mind recognizes as an impending loss of body fat, to a dieter's chagrin. The stomach-hunger system has been researched in rats. Psychologist Bartley Hoebel of Princeton University has seen this behavior in his lab rats. By injecting NPY into the brains of rats, Hoebel witnessed feeding frenzies as expected. Unexpectedly, genetically engineered rats with no NPY still ate to satiety. With respect to evolutionary psychology, overeating is an adaptive behavior not needed in modern times. As neurologist Barry E. Levin explains, "Under [conditions of scarcity and unpredictability of food sources], the ability to ingest and store as many calories as possible when food is readily available would have obvious survival value;" thus, humans have become susceptible to easier methods of gaining weight throughout evolution.

In addition, evolution has also provided humans with the added benefit of making eating a pleasurable experience, via neurochemicals and neural circuitry. This is where "brain hunger" comes into play. Food has become not only a means of gustational pleasure--it has also become an addiction and emotional fix. In fact, the same neural signals used in the facilitation of an orgasm are used in brain hunger. Gene-Jack Wang, head of medicine at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York states, "Now we're not just talking about energy balance...we're talking human psychology. This stems from brain-imaging studies done on people, where the "mere sight and smell of barbecued chicken, hamburgers, and pizza release dopamine in the striatum." The striatum is a part of the limbic system in the brain that helps create motivation; dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure seeking and produces feeling of enjoyment. The same system is observed in compulsive gamblers and drug addicts, as well as in eating and sex.

Seeing how the same system is implicated in these behaviors, Hoebel proposes that food may have addictive properties. As Wright indicates, high calorie foods cause the release of opioids, a chemical that masks pain and promotes euphoric sensations. Drugs, on the other hand, hijack this network causing the same reaction, only amplified. For dieters, the stomach-hunger/brain-hunger dichotomy is a nightmare. The human mind is not aware of being overweight, but it does detect weight loss--a type of fight or flight response. As losing weight requires eating less calories than physically needed, hunger sets in which drives one to eat. The biochemical model of appetite works against the dieter, where both types of hunger set in. Using strategies, such as substituting unhealthy snacks for healthier ones or drinking a great amount of water before a meal, the individual can satisfy his or her hunger and avoid the repercussions of the mind's need.

Monday, March 3

Networking: Ten Websites to Consult for Psychology Research

The focus of this week's post is to expand on the linkroll (located to the right) with useful resources. Under the guidance of the IMSA, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, and Webby Awards criteria, I was able to find blogs and websites that generate psychology research and information. Science Daily, for instance, is a superb source for news articles in the fields of mental disorders, neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry, et cetera. The content is rich in text, video, images, books, and news feeds. It is easy to navigate and accessible to all web-experienced users. Psychiatric Times, on the other hand, isn't as visually pleasing, but it is rich in journals composed by the psychology and doctorate scholars. To its detriment, this website is not interactive and can only be used for textual evidence. Association for Psychological Science (APS) and American Psychological Association (APA) are similar to one another as they are organizations with the goal to further research psychology. Both APA and APS are a source of up-to-date psychology journals. While both these websites are aesthetically pleasing, properly structured, and content-filled, these websites are highly interactive in that they strive for new members to join and contribute to the organizations. National Mental Health Association (NMHA) and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) are more general resources for psychology information. The main goal of these sites is to inform the general population about mental health precaution and treatment. Mind Hacks, a blog created by Tom Stafford and Max Webb, is an expansion of a book by the same name, created by the aforementioned authors. This blog was created for the main purpose to teach people "how to inside their brain using neuroscience and psychology." Although the blog is structured well, the activity and timing above standard, the authority and influence is lacking. The language is informal, but geared toward individuals who have minimal psychological background. The lack of comments by spectators renders this blog for consulting rather than researching. BRAINETHICS, a blog created by Thomas Ramsoy and Martin Skov, is a good example of a blog with minimal authority and influence, but who's aim is further investigate neuroscience. The bloggers are a neuroscientist and neuroaesthetician from Norway, and their goal is to provide insight into"tinkering with the brain" and explain human behavior. Unlike Mind Hacks, the activity and timing is substandard, as the blog has not been updated since December 2007, and the language sufficient. Pertinent to IMSA criteria, these blogs are overall satisfactory and useful. Cognitive Daily is a great blog, from psychology professor Greta Munger, focused on cognitive psychology. With posts made "nearly every day," if not more, Cognitive Daily is a professionally appearing, authoritative and influential blog posting on peer-reviewed . Last, but certainly not least, is PsychCentral, a psychology hub for the student, professor, and average Joe. A cut above the rest, PsychCentral (as seen on the left) is a website with its own blog, quizzes, research, news, community, et cetera. The resources this website provides merits the site's subtitle to "Learn. Share. Grow." The content is up-to-date, which ranges from articles, essays, to journals. This site is meant to educate and provide academic enrichment in the field of psychology. For the "neuroscientifically" inclined, its sister website NeuroTalk is advised.

Monday, February 18

Jabberwocky What Now?: Cons of Language

Being a novice to the blogosphere, I was surprised to find how difficult it was to find blogs of notable worth. Nonetheless, my efforts were not for naught. Language is something we all take for granted. Many of us use it effortlessly, as we were just born knowing how to use it. In fact, some theories suggest that we are, but that is beside the point. This week, I chose to focus on the wonderful world of language. Inspired by the great Charles Dodgson, whom many know as Lewis Carroll, I decided upon Dave Munger’s “Study finds some thoughts really do require language” as my first cyber-spar. Munger is the co-founder and president of, and a frequent contributor to his wife’s, Greta Munger, blog Cognitive Daily. is a blog centered on discussing and creating peer-reviewed research. In this post, Munger argues that language is in fact a requirement in some forms of thought; although, as you will see in my comment, his argument is premature. The second post I commented on was Dr. John M. Grohol’s “Why Do Kids Lie?” which I found at Grohol, a Psy. D., comments on an article found in New York Magazine, showing that kids learn how to lie…from their parents! For your convenience, both comments are posted below, and linked in the post titles above.

"Study finds some thoughts really do require language"
Thank you for this intriguing post. I had to think about your argument for a long time before I really understood that language "most definitely appears to be a requirement for some thought," seems flawed to me. From what I understood from the study, verbal distraction tends to corrupt the process of encoding language from visual to verbal memory; by no means does this conclude that it is necessary to express something through language. That language distracts the process of translation seems to be the real issue here.

The lack of research on the non-verbal and brain damaged population minimizes your argument. If some adults are distracted between thought processes, does not mean that deaf people will also postulate the incorrect answer? That research has yet to be done, therefore the answer is inconclusive, and your argument is only half supported.

Also, when it comes to rationalization, and theory of mind, I do have to agree with you that some type of language is necessary in order to express it. How can an adult rationalize where the mouse thinks the cheese is hidden? Naturally, through his observation. In this study, the subject's observation was deterred by the verbal distraction. In all, I think you found evidence that supported your argument. The study was centered on language, as the study you provided showed that "thinking while talking" was a distraction. It was a little far reaching to state conclusively that language was a "requirement" to some thought processes.

"Why Do Kids Lie?"
Let me be the first to say--I am in your debt for helping me prove that my lying ways are not my fault--blame it on my parents! If only that were the case. I can proudly admit that those days are long gone, the days where lying was a force of adaptation, and not habit. Would I go as far as to say that I was only mimicking my parents, as opposed to saving my own skin?

I find it difficult to completely lay the burden of responsibility on parenting, rather socializing in general, as was the case in the "Bobo doll" modeling experiment by Bandura. Children do view their parents as models, and as your example shows, parents even encourage their children to lie about things. This poses the consequence of habitually lying children when they do not know the difference between a "social lie" and the other, as your post mentions.

You also mention that lying gets easier with practice, as is the case with every behavior one learns; still, are parents completely responsible? I think every child, after a certain age, makes the conscious decision to lie in order to avoid negative consequences. In that case, is it still the case that parents are responsible for that? Your research makes it sound like lying is a conditioned behavior, where children, through no fault of their own, are taught to lie. Is that the case for every child?

Monday, February 11

Keeping the Ol' Factory from Shutting Down: Conveying Attraction through Scent

Springtime is just over the horizon. Nature is back at square one in its reproductive cycle. For animals, it is as simple as sniffing out that perfect mate; but for humans, love can be a rather complex process. For some, love comes at first sight; but, psychologist Rachel Herz, a professor at Brown University and author of The Scent of Desire, has compelling research that explains love, or actually attraction, through the old reliable olfactory system. Can it be as simple as love at first...smell? Is attraction as easy as animals make it look? Has society overlooked one of nature's basic methods of observation in favor of a more intellectual approach? Love can be ill defined, even in the literary sense, but science has managed to find a way to bring a complex emotion into the most simplistic of terms, something that many find far too reductionists.

The science behind attraction lies in our genes, specifically a group of over one hundred immune system genes known as MHC, or major histocompatibility complex. Men and women, whose MHC are distinct from one another, have a better chance at successfully reproducing than those whose MHC are similar to one another. This is because differing MHC lead to more disease-resistant offspring. In 1995, biologist Claus Wedekind, of the University of Lusanna in Switzerland, conducted the now dubbed "Sweaty T-shirt Experiment," which generated favorable results to the human pheromone argument. Forty-four men were given shirts to wear, as well as scent-free deodorant, soap, and aftershave, to use over the span of two days. Forty-nine women were then asked to sniff the shirts and rate the men on their attractiveness, based purely on scent. The results showed that women preferred the smell of T-shirts worn by men who were "immunologically dissimilar to them." Also, the scents reminded women of past and current boyfriends, leading Elizabeth Svoboda, of Psychology Today, to suggest in her article "Scents and Sensibility," that MHC is a component in women's dating choices.

Sexual chemistry, with the technological advances in society, has become a major, and for some the utmost important, component of finding love in this day in age; but, with such advances come unintended repercussions. According to Svoboda, Herz relates MHC to sexual chemistry, and for women who are on birth control, the effects of the pill can be disastrous in finding the perfect mate. In the same sweaty T-shirt experiment, one notable exception to the rule of MHC mating was that of women on the pill; women on the pill preferred the T-shirts of men whose MHC profile was similar to theirs. Charles Wysocki, a biopsychologist at Florida State University, explains that this poses a problem when women get off birth control to have children: "on a subconscious level, her brain is realizing a mistake was made-she married the wrong guy." To further complicate matters, women who are on the pill also emit scents which can be misconstrued by men as incompatible.

On the other side of the spectrum, an experiment conducted by Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico and author of The Mating Mind, showed that men preferred women who were not on the pill. In this experiment, exotic dancers who were not on the pill were making nearly fifty percent more on tips than their pill-taking counterparts. The reason, as Miller points out, could be that "women are probably doing something unconsciously, and men are responding to it unconsciously...we just don't know whether it has to do with a shift in their psychology, their tone of voice, or if it's physical, as in the kind of pheromones they're putting out." An added extraneous variable to the experiment were women who were ovulating at the time of the experiment, who, as the study showed, were the biggest earners. As Svoboda investigated, "other studies have shown that men rate women smelling best when they are at the most fertile," adding further to the argument of scent-induced attraction.

In "Chemical Compatibility," an article in The Providence Journal, Bryan Rourke reports on Eric Holzle, a scientist and engineer with an MBA, who started the dotcom business, to match couples based on their MHC makeup, as well as personal preferences and values. Not only was he inspired by the "sweaty T-shirt experiment," but he was nearly robbed of that chance by Herz, who's idea was deterred by her informal market research.

Moreover, the use of fragrances in hygienic products has also muddled nature's olfactory design. Ironically, companies market hygienic products as alluring to the opposite sex. Interestingly enough, Svoboda's research shows that some people choose store-bought fragrances that complement one's own scent. It is also important to note that it is nearly impossible for partners to go without getting a real sense of their partner's scent, especially in long-term commitments.

While genetics does play a role in the success of a successful pregnancy, relationships are far more complex to rely its success on the basis of genetics. Humans possess the intellectual ability to determine their soul mate based on a myriad of aspects, and not just their senses. That it is not to say that genetics should be discounted; in fact, if it is as simple as smelling out that perfect match among the plethora of people in society, some might have an easier time scoping out their future spouse! MHC, or any attraction by scent in the human population, can not be fully responsible for every relationship that malfunctions, or all unsuccessful pregnancies for that matter. Beauty has always been in the eye of the beholder, but now it seems as though scent must also be accounted for.
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