-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- How the human brain
perceives nudity is boosted at an early stage of visual processing,
researchers say, and that ability may be tied to mating.
Most people are attracted to pictures of nude or scantily clad
bodies, the Finnish team note. Previous brain imaging studies have
pinpointed areas in the brain that specialize in detecting human
bodies in the environment but it wasn't known whether the brain
processes clothed and nude bodies in different ways.
In this study, Jari K. Hietanen, of the University of Tampere,
and a colleague monitored the brain activity of volunteers as they
looked at pictures of men and women who wore everyday clothes or
swimsuits, or were nude.
The results showed that the brain processes pictures of nude
bodies more efficiently than pictures of clothed bodies. Males'
brain responses were stronger for nude females than nude males, but
females' responses to nudity weren't affected by the gender of the
The study also found that the nude pictures were more sexually
arousing than the other types of pictures, according to the report
published in the Nov. 16 online edition of the journal
In a news release from the Academy of Finland, the researchers
said the findings show that the brain boosts the processing of
sexually arousing signals, which could help identify potential
"The visual processing of other people's nude bodies is enhanced in the brain," the study authors wrote in the report. They add that this "is possibly beneficial in identifying potential mating partners and competitors, and for triggering sexual behavior."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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