Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Face time with a female aids males bent on monkey business

Date:
April 5, 2011
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
The time males spend around a prospective mate might be the key to detecting subtle sexual signals that show which females are fertile and which are not, according to a new study by biologists and psychologists.

Males who spend time getting to know females tend to pick up sexual signals better than less attentive counterparts, Yale study finds.
Credit: Courtesy of Yale University

Male monkeys looking for a good time might benefit from spending a bit longer getting to know a potential mate, according to a new study published online in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Related Articles


The time males spend around a prospective mate might be the key to detecting subtle sexual signals that show which females are fertile and which are not, according to the study, co-authored by an international team of biologists and psychologists.

"The results of this study shed new light on the role that experience can play in reading others' mating signals," said Laurie Santos, a psychologist from Yale University who was a co-author on the study.

Scientists have long been curious about how females of some primate species, including humans, advertise their fertility and how males recognize often subtle signals. Previous research has shown that the faces of female monkeys sometimes darken when they are fertile, but not all females show exactly the same changes. So can males learn to "read" a female's face?

To study this question, the researchers looked at a rhesus macaque population on the island of Cayo Santiago, off the coast of Puerto Rico, testing whether males could detect when a female was ovulating from her picture alone. They presented male monkeys with two pictures of the same female's face: one from a day on which she was ovulating, and one from a time before she was ovulating. More than 80 percent of males from the female's group were able to discriminate between the two faces, looking longer at the photograph in which she was ovulating than the one in which she was pre-fertile. Males who did not know the specific female in the photograph showed no such preference. This result suggests that males may increase their chance of detecting a female's receptivity by getting to know her.

"Many primates, including humans, receive signals from individuals with whom they are familiar. How this familiarity affects how we interpret the signals we receive from others is largely unknown," said James Higham, lead author of the study, who undertook the work while at The University of Chicago. "I think that similar familiarity effects are quite common in humans as well. How can we determine whether someone is upset or just generally grumpy, or whether someone genuinely likes something or is just always enthusiastic, unless we really know them?"

"The study raises new questions about whether familiarity might be used by the males of our own species to detect when women are fertile," noted Santos.

Other authors of the paper were Kelly Hughes of Yale University; Lauren Brent of Duke University; Constance Dubuc, Antje Engelhardt, and Michael Heistermann of the German Primate Center; Dario Maestripieri of The University of Chicago; and Martin Stevens of the University of Cambridge.

The work was funded by the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Face time with a female aids males bent on monkey business." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405194104.htm>.
Yale University. (2011, April 5). Face time with a female aids males bent on monkey business. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405194104.htm
Yale University. "Face time with a female aids males bent on monkey business." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405194104.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins