Brain Scans Predict Women's Eating and Sexual Behavior

By measuring how women's brains respond to images of food and sex, researchers may be able to predict whether the women are set for weight gain or sexual activity in the months ahead. 

What's the Latest Development?


Dartmouth University researchers have found a way to accurately predict the eating and sexual behavior of women using functional magnetic resonance brain scans. In an experiment, the brains of 48 women were scanned while the women were shown pictures of food, animals, nature scenes and people in sexual and nonsexual activities. "Women whose brains demonstrated greater activity in response to pictures of food were more likely to have gained weight six months later than those whose brains did not respond to the pictures." 

What's the Big Idea?

Women who described themselves has having higher levels of sexual desires also responded more strongly to the sexual photos shown during the experiment. "Brain activity was also significantly higher in the 22 women who reported having sex in the following six months, compared with the 26 who did not." Lead author of the study and professor of psychology at Brown, Kathryn E. Demos said, "What’s novel here is that we can actually make predictions about behavior based on brain activity. ... These individual differences could give us clues to work on in developing treatments."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


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