Brain scans of porn viewers

Researchers from the University of Picardie Jules Verne were curious about what happens in the brain to cause an erection when men are exposed to certain images. Specifically, they wondered whether "mirror neurons," are involved in the erection response. Mirror neurons fire both when you do something and when you observe that same thing being done by another. So Harold Mouras and his colleagues showed porn videos to eight men while scanning their brains. (The videos were mixed in with fishing documentaries and other footage that isn't erotic, er, to most people.) Meanwhile, they used a "penile plethysmograph" to determine when the men got erections and how hard they were. From New Scientist:
Interestingly, the volume of the erections correlated with the strength of activation in a part of the brain called the pars opercularis, which is known to display mirror neuron activity. Even more intriguing, the brain activation, say the researchers, precedes the penile response.

"The mirror neurons are like the command," says Mouras. "The activation comes before the erection." 'Bold' study

The study, says Mouras, is the first to suggest that mirror neurons are involved not only in observed actions, but in the "automatic" responses to those observations – in this case, erection.
Link

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  1. I know some guys who have the erection first
    and the mirror neurons kick in later.
    My Dad would get an erection from a fishin
    movie especially if it were shot on the old
    Ektacolor film emulsion.

  2. its tha way of da innewebs but how long before someone gets off on your “penile plethysmograph” readings…..

  3. I wonder of a study of women watching porn would show involvement of the mirror neurons as well.

    Also, I’m going to assume the fishing documentaries weren’t anything like this.

  4. I think I need a “penile plethysmograph,” so that in addition to telling the ladies that I have a whopping 3 inches to offer them, I’m also, incredibly, a 2 on the… uh… Mohs scale?

  5. According to the article, the men were shown videos of other men engaged in sex acts. Because we already think there’s an association between these parts of the brain and watching someone else perform an action, I’m not sure that demonstrates anything special.

    All it demonstrates is that men that watch other men having sex can respond physiologically in a sympathetic way. What’s different than the original mirror neuron studies that showed monkeys responding to someone else’s grasping task? Not much, as far as I can tell.

    It would be more relevant to test these men viewing images that are sexual but do NOT depict some other man in them. (e.g. nude women dancing or stripping or whatever) In that case, there is no parallel motor action in the viewed images for the brain to respond to.

    Of course, the article is pretty vague about specifics of the study’s findings, so maybe there’s something more detailed that is interesting. As it is, it looks pretty much like a good way to get yourself in the news.

    Stay tuned for my neurological study on Event-Related Brain Potentials (ERPs) and bouncing breasts. Big results! The brain is involved in watching them bounce! Even for women! Does this make all women lesbians? Fox News investigates.

  6. I want to see this study about Event-Related Brain Potentials (ERPs) and bouncing breasts! I did a similar experiment in university with jiggling ass cheeks…

    Fishing videos usually give me a boner too, but this little thing always works better…

  7. Is this study still open to volunteers, and how much does it pay?

    Actually I don’t care how much it pays, I just want to do my part in the advancement of scientific knowledge.

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