The chemistry of social interaction

It was Dr. Martha McClintock who first published the study that showed that women’s menstrual cycles tend to fall into step over time. Recently she discovered that the pheromones given off by lactating mothers increases the sexual desire in other women. The evolutionary explanation is that it is better for women to have babies when surrounded by other mothers.

Now she is investigating the different ways that black and white women are affected by cancer. All of her research is informed by connecting the social world with the genetic. In other words she is showing the huge effect psychology has on biology – with fascinating results.
> From The New York Times

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 16 November 2004

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