comScore Men Who Watch a Buttload of Porn Could Shrink Their Brain | The Mary Sue
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Men Who Watch a Buttload of Porn Could Be Shrinking Their Brains

Or murdering kittens. You know, whichever scare tactic is popular this month.

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Apparently, self-love can really take it out of you, if by “it” you mean gray matter. A study published last week in JAMA Psychiatry shows a potential link between porn consumption and (brain) shrinkage, but the researchers say not to worry about deleting your browser history just yet.

The study was conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and recruited 64 male participants between the ages of 21-45. The men were asked to estimate how much time a week they spent watching porn online, but told that the study was examining “magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measurements,” not porn consumption. The average subject reported spending no more than four hours a week watching what the study cryptically describes as a “broad range of pornography.” Participants were then given an MRI scan while being shown either pornography or images of people working out.

Alarmingly, men who reported spending more time on average watching porn online had less gray matter and more negatively altered brain connectivity than other participants. The study says, “Findings indicated that gray matter volume of the right caudate of the striatum is smaller with higher pornography use,” but more research needs to be conducted to determine if watching lots of porn causes reduction in gray matter and changes in neural plasticity, or if the subjects in question were predisposed to watch more porn because of the differences in their brain.

Says the study, “Individuals with lower striatum volume may need more external stimulation to experience pleasure and might therefore experience pornography consumption as more rewarding.” Men shouldn’t spare their rods just to save their brains yet, though: “Future studies should investigate the effects of pornography longitudinally or expose naive participants to pornography and investigate the causal effects over time.”

It probably shouldn’t be too hard to find participants for a follow-up like that.

(News.com , Jezebel, and IFuckingLoveScience, image via Michael Robinson)

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