Could an antibiotic provide an antidote against infatuation?
Researchers in Japan claim that minocycline can help men keep their wits about them when interacting with beautiful women and thereby avoid the so-called honey trap.
The study, published in the journal Nature, drew a parallel to those spy movies where a male can’t help himself from getting involved with a seductive woman, i.e., a femme fatale – even if he knows she’s working for the other side and is not trustworthy. In real life application, the study claims, “this tendency toward resource allocation to attractive females creates ‘noise’ that complicates decisions in short-term economic exchanges, leading to the tendency to ‘honey trap’ males with this behavior.”
In the study itself, 98 male college students were shown photographs of eight females and asked to rate their attractiveness. They were also were required to play a trust game with the women involving splitting up a sum of money with them. Unbeknownst to the test subjects, the women had decided in advance to keep all the money rather than dividing it up.
Some of the test subjects took the 100 mg of minocycline twice a day for five days and others took a placebo. Minocycline is ordinarily prescribed to treat acne and other skin disorders but is sometimes used to address mental illness.
In the placebo group, men gave 50% of their money to what the study called women of low attractiveness, while they offered 65% of their money to women of high attractiveness. In other words, attractiveness and trustworthiness appeared to be correlated. The minocycline group, however, gave their money 50-50 to the women regardless of their perceived hotness.
The premise of the research apparently seems to be that men in a business environment can get too easily distracted by good-looking women: “The hypothesis of this study was that minocycline reduces the risk of the honey trap effect and leads to more appropriate decisions in a short-term economic exchange, through a reduction in the noise triggered by physical attractiveness.”
Added the authors: “To date, the biological mechanisms that underlie the honey trap effect remain poorly understood and no drug has been conclusively proven to attenuate honey trap effects during human social decision-making. The results of the present study suggest that minocycline is the first drug to have a novel pharmacologic function in humans — inhibition of honey trap effects.”
Do you think a pill could actually protect a man (or a woman) against a potential gold digger?
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