It's not as creepy as it sounds. When a woman is ovulating, she has very subtle changes in voice, scent and skin tone, all of which men pick up without even realizing it. To explore this, they paired 123 male participants with five women over different stages of their menstrual cycle. Each man had a one-on-one session with the woman (not in the way you think). They were prompted with a picture depicting a certain scenario, like a child giving another a toy, and the woman was asked to describe the situation.
The men were then asked to do the same thing. But what they found was that, when the women were less fertile, the men were more likely to be lazy and just copy what the woman said. But when the women were ovulating and thus more fertile, the men tended to shake it up a little and put more effort into their part. In other words, they were trying harder to impress them. Because they could smell their ovulation.
"It is a child, a lonely child, who despite having little, bequeaths his sole treasure unto another."
OK, so it actually is as creepy as it sounds.
Your Eyes Can "See" Even After You Go Blind
We're not talking about the way the blind superhero Daredevil can "see" with sound. This is something different, and weirder.
In one study, they put an old blind man in a maze and told him to find his way out on his own, hopefully after the man volunteered for it. And what happened? He completed the maze flawlessly. He could "see" the walls and twists and turns, because his retina had figured out how to bypass the broken visual cortex and send the information to the brain. He was still blind, but his eyes and brain had found a workaround. He was not, however, able to escape from the tiger the scientists had released into the maze.
"That's the 37th subject this week, how very curious. Bring in subject 38!"
In another study, researchers put pictures of happy and sad people in front of blind people. And again, they found that the blind people were able to tell most of the time which faces were sad and which were happy. They couldn't see the faces, but their brains knew what was in front of them.
How? Well, for many blind people, there's really nothing wrong with their eyes. The problem is usually with the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes what the eyes see. It's just like taking the film out of a camera and replacing it with spaghetti -- the camera works fine, but it's still useless to you. But what if somehow your body could find another way to send the information from the retina to the brain? It happens, and it's called blindsight. Some blind people develop it and are able to have complete awareness of their surroundings, even if they believe that they don't. It doesn't mean that you can throw away your blind uncle's cane, but you probably shouldn't walk around in front of him without pants anymore.
"My subconscious is telling me I want hot dogs. The mini ones, though. The absolute smallest you can find!"
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For other ways you're more like an X-Man than you think, check out 5 Superpowers You Didn't Know Your Body Was Hiding From You. Or discover the 5 Superpowers We All Had as Babies (According to Science).
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And to further expand your noggin, check out Cracked's De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew.