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Thursday, August 11 • 4:10pm - 4:50pm
Do sexually transmitted pathogens manipulate human sexual behavior?

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Many parasites promote their replication by manipulating their hosts’ physiology and behavior, e.g. increasing host aggressiveness (to spread through bites), disrupting anti-predator defenses (to spread through ingestion), or inducing 'parasitic castration' (to spread through sustained mating effort). We’ll argue that some common STIs may manipulate human sexual behavior in their own interests, e.g. by promoting sociosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality, broadening mate choice criteria, increasing courtship skills, disrupting long-term relationships, or inducing female sterility. Herpes viruses and neurosyphilis seem especially well-positioned to influence neural functioning. Neurosyphilis often promotes increased sexual desire, sexual and verbal disinhibition, and an increased creative spark reminiscent of Parkinson’s L-DOPA therapy. More attention to possible STI manipulation could lead to better diagnostic criteria for STIs, interventions for reducing transmission, new explanations for non-heritable individual differences in sexual strategies, a better understanding of sexual disgust, and new insights into the evolution of human sexuality.

Presenters
avatar for Geoffrey Miller

Geoffrey Miller

Associate Professor of Psychology, University of New Mexico
Geoffrey Miller is an evolutionary psychology professor at University of New Mexico; he also worked at MPI, UCL, LSE, and UCLA, with a B.A. from Columbia and a Ph.D. from Stanford. He’s best known for his books The Mating Mind, Mating Intelligence, Spent, and Mate. He has over 100... Read More →


Thursday August 11, 2016 4:10pm - 4:50pm
East

Attendees (18)