Friday, 3 August 2007

Men like kissing, women prefer chocolate?

Heart-rate variation over 8 minutes of the experiment. The red line is the female participant, the blue line the male one. (Image reproduced to illustrate this post, if anyone has a copyright problem please post a comment and I'll remove it)

I just couldn't resist reporting on this scientific experiment "A Comparison of Effects on Heart Rate & Brain Activity of Allowing Plain Chocolate to Melt in the Mouth and Kissing a Familiar Partner" (apparently carried out by researchers at

Essentially, "Changes in heart rate and brain activity (EEG) were monitored in six heterosexual couples, in an established relationship, to compare the effects on brain and body of two forms of oral and olfactory stimulation – kissing and allowing chocolate to melt in the mouth." The brain waves measured were alpha waves, which are normally associated with pleasure and enjoyment.

Guess what? "It was found that, so far as both heart rate increase and brain wave amplitude are concerned, the effects of chocolate exceed those of a kiss." And the heart rate increased not only more, but stayed up for longer, with chocolate.

Furthermore, in the case of at least one couple, the man's heartrate was much more affected by kissing, the woman's by chocolate. (Hmmm, does this prove men think with their sexual organs, women with their stomachs? Tastebuds?)

The article concerned engages in some (very) brief speculation at the end as to the reasons behind the effect of chocolate, or rather phenylethylamine, the main stimulant within chocolate.

In this case, I won't say "don't try this at home". Maybe I'd say instead, "If you try this at home make sure you have your brainwave and heartrate monitors all hooked up ladeez and gentz, and report your results!"

I haven't figured out exactly when this article was posted. Probably 1 April, I wouldn't be surprised. But it's fun anyway. (See the full article (with more graphs and photos!).

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