Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sept 22 Ridley Ch 9, 10, 11 (Disease, Stress, Personality)

The experiment with men and women choosing which t-shirt smelled best after others had slept in them raises some interesting questions for me. Perhaps this is because I am usually very conscious about odors or perhaps because this is not my first introduction to this particular experiment as I heard about a similar experiment (maybe even the same experiment) when I was in high school. In any case, I find it very intriguing that people preferred t-shirts of those with very different MHC genotypes than themselves. Does this work with other genes as well? If they say that opposites attract, is this because people with different genes smell drastically different? Does it only work with the MHC genotype sequence? Which genes makes us attracted to one another in the first place? One of my questions about choosing a mate based on strength or perceived fitness is how is it that the ‘ugly’ or unfit people still manage to reproduce? This can offer some insight into why people who may appear physically unattractive somehow find mates if they are ‘attractive’ in odor or personality thereby making their genes more ‘attractive.’ Of course, as the two following chapters pointed out, personality is as much a reflection of genetics as it is of external factors because the brain has such a complex reaction network of chemical and electrical signals. If we are attracted to someone based on their personality then, are we really attracted to the environmental characteristics in which they choose to surround themselves? Maybe even these, as the mice with levers example illustrates, are affected by some chemical reactions stimulating positive or negative response to stimuli and therefore also genetically determined.

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