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Wow of the Week: The sound of a ticking clock speeds up a woman’s biological clock?

Tick tock, tick tock! Your-ovaries-are-shriveling-up, goes the clock!  The sound of a ticking clock can speed up a lady’s urge to conceive before her childbearing years are over, a team of (sadistic?) Florida State University researchers have found. Two experiments were published recently in the journal Human Nature; the paper’s called “The Clock is Ticking: The Sound […]

Tick tock, tick tock! Your-ovaries-are-shriveling-up, goes the clock! 

The sound of a ticking clock can speed up a lady’s urge to conceive before her childbearing years are over, a team of (sadistic?) Florida State University researchers have found. Two experiments were published recently in the journal Human Nature; the paper’s called “The Clock is Ticking: The Sound of a Ticking Clock Speeds Up Women’s Attitudes on Reproductive Timing.

The first experiment asked 59 men and women of different socioeconomic backgrounds what age they’d like to get hitched and start procreating, subjecting them to the ticking of a small, white kitchen timer. Apparently this subtle environmental sound influenced both the timing in which women chose to have children, as well as what kinds of traits they wanted in their potential partners. These are “both central aspects of women’s mating-related psychology,” lead researcher and (misanthropic?) psychology graduate student Justin Moss said in a statement.

The second experiment evaluated 74 participants (huuuuuge sample sizes here, friends), gauging whether they’d change the characteristics they desired in a potential mate based on the clock’s (malevolent!) sound. Guess it did, and particularly among women of a lower socioeconomic status. These women wanted to tie the noose (err, knot. Get married.) and have their first child at a younger age than women with more disposable income, the study found. They placed less emphasis on the mate’s social status and long-term earning potential, however – it was all about biology.

The clock’s effect was totally different for men, however. This didn’t surprise Justin and his overlord, FSU Professor Jon K. Maner, who quite rightly observed that “the reproductive lives of men are not as limited because they are able to father children well into old age.” So they didn’t subconsciously react with the same urgency as the women did.

On that point, the study really illustrates that although we think we’re capable of operating on free will, sometimes personal decisions are significantly influenced by our unconscious mind, Maner said. And that a biological clock is, like, a thing.

“Very subtle things going on around us can affect very personal decisions – like when to have children – without us realizing it,” Maner said.

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Hm. Interesting. Valid. But this is the takeaway:

“The ticking clock serves as a reminder that women’s reproductive potential is limited,” Moss said.

Don’t tell my parents.