Two experiments; same results
Experiment#1: What’s the least part of a female turkey that is sufficient to arouse a male turkey? (by Carbaugh, Schein and Hale 1962)
Experiment #2: “[what’s] the lower limit to how awful a person could be before men would stop messaging her on an online dating site?” (by Alli Reed, 2014)
Carbaugh et al. added their research, done at Penn State University, to a surprisingly large amount of previous work analyzing the extent to which a number of birds responded socially and sexually to minimal stimulations. In one paper (Lorenz, 1937), demonstrated that parakeets would respond to a small celluloid ball mimicking the head of another bird. Wood-Gush showed that a stuffed bird in a crouched position was sufficient to excite a young male chicken (1957).
So, naturally, the Carbaugh, et al had to see what parts of the whole, when severed and mounted, would make a male turkey ‘hot’?
Three things stand out to me from this paper:
- The images the researchers drew to represent different parts of the birds being used.
3. That it really only takes a head on a stick
In a very similar experiment, Alli Reed, writing on Cracked.com, created the worst, most obnoxious personal ad paired with a picture of an attractive woman’s face to see whether the personal information accompanying the ad would do anything to deter men from trying to contact a woman.
I heard about this story during her appearance on this week’s Freakonomics radio podcast. Her personal ad, which you can find published on cracked, portays a young woman with scruples the likes of which Dick Dastardly would find loathsome. She’s looking for a rich man to party with her, taunt homeless people, listen to pop- super-nobody Aaron Carter (this is a link to a fan site – beware), and possibly finance her idea for a matching doggie clothes / iPhone case business (ps – Paris Hilton would probably establish a standing order with you, Alli).
Despite this, AaronCarterFan got 150 messages in 24 hours. Go read her article. And you’ll see that human males pretty much have no higher standards than these birds we were just laughing about.