December 1, 2010

Ovulating Women Less Likely To Call Dad

A new study has shown that women instinctively shun their fathers when they are most fertile.

The researchers say that the reason is evolution.  Females in other species have been observed to give a cold shoulder to male kin during periods of maximum fertility.

"The behavior has long been explained as a means of avoiding inbreeding and the negative consequences associated with it," explained lead author Debra Lieberman, a professor at the University of Miami, told AFP.

"But until we conducted our study, nobody knew whether a similar pattern occurred in women."

Lieberman and colleagues examined cell phone records of 48 women in their reproductive years, saying that the date and duration of all calls with their fathers and their mothers over the course of a billing period.

The researchers found that women called their dads less frequently during the days when they were ovulating, and would hang up sooner if the calls came the other way.

Daughters were half as likely to call their dad during high fertility days compared to the period of menstruation.  The conversations that did take place lasted about half as long.

The team checked to be sure that the women were not blowing off their dads in order to meet male suitors. 

They also found that women were not trying to evade parental control because they were more likely to give their mom a ring during that time.

The researchers concluded that women have hard-wired mechanisms that protect against the risk of less healthy children, which tend to occur when close genetic relatives mate.

"It makes sense that women would reduce their interactions with male genetic relatives, who are undesirable mates," Lieberman said.

Previous research has shown that women are in their most fertile phase when they are attracted to men with "masculine" qualities like husky voices and competitive personalities.


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