"Chick Flicks" Raise Progesterone Levels

Depending on your interest, a romantic movie or an action-adventure film can send your hormone levels in measurably different directions, according to a new study. Watching a romantic movie can boost progesterone levels more than 10 percent, researchers report, bringing couples closer together. A violent, more action-filled movie like "The Godfather," however, can alter testosterone and dampen attentive feelings.

Researchers tested three groups on scenes from different films: "The Bridges of Madison County," "The Godfather: Part II" and a documentary on the Amazon rainforest.

Each group had hormonal levels tested immediately before, after and 45 minutes after viewing the 30 minutes of tape.

The rainforest group saw no change in hormonal levels while men and women watching the romantic film saw their need for affiliation and their progesterone levels rise. "Bridges of Madison County" left women's testosterone levels unchanged, but had a dampening effect on men's testosterone levels.

Men and women reacted totally differently to a "Godfather: Part II" scene where a young Vito Corleone acquired and consolidated power after killing a hated foe. High-testosterone men saw their power motivations and testosterone levels jump as much as 30 percent as their need for affiliation dropped. Meanwhile, high-testosterone women saw their testosterone fall while people with low-testosterone levels who were most comfortable in submissive roles could get downright uncomfortable.

Science Daily July 23, 2004

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