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New Cheating Cure? Scientists Find Antibiotic that Makes Men Immune to Seduction

Update Date: Apr 30, 2013 10:56 AM EDT
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Japanese scientists have discovered an antibiotic that could stop men from cheating. Researchers believe that the drug works by making men immune to seduction.

In the study, researchers from the Waseda and Kyushu Universities tested the mind-altering effects of an antibiotic called minocycline. Minocycline is a tetracycline antibiotic used to treat acne and other skin infections like MRSA and Lyme disease.  The drug can also help with asthma symptoms. Past studies have shown that the drug can reduce symptoms associated with mental illness like schizophrenia and depression.

Researcher stimulated 'honey traps', using eight photographs of attractive women, and got 98 male participants to rate how trustworthy they thought each of the women would be.

Researchers divided the men into two groups. The first group was given a four-day oral treatment course of minocycline and the second, control group, was given a placebo pill.

The men were then asked to look at pictures of female faces and asked to choose how much of 1300 yen ($13) they were willing to give to each woman. Researchers explained that if the men chose to share the money, the amount would be tripled. However, the men were told that the females would get a choice to cooperate by sharing the money or betray by taking it all.

The men were also asked to assess how trustworthy they thought each female was and how physically attractive she was.

The men did not know that the women in the photographs had already decided, in advance, to either 'cooperate' or 'betray' the male players.

The study revealed that trusting behavior in men significantly increased in relation to the perceived attractiveness of the female. In other words, the more attractive a woman is to a man, the more likely he would choose to trust her, even without evidence of trustworthiness.

However, the study revealed that "perceived attractiveness" did not appear to sway men who took minocycline.  Researchers found that men given the antibiotic offered women significantly less money than men given the placebo.

The study also revealed that the attractiveness of the females increased when the money was introduced in the study.

"In movies, a female spy often wins the trust of her male target using her physical attractiveness," researchers wrote in the study. "The male target usually suspects that she is a spy, but because of her attractiveness, he becomes amorously entangled with the female spy despite concerns regarding her trustworthiness."

"For males, allocating valuable resources to physically attractive females may be evolutionarily adaptive, in that it may increase the probability of producing attractive offspring under natural selection," researchers explained.

"However, this tendency toward resource allocation to attractive females creates 'noise' that complicates decisions in short-term economic exchanges, leading to the tendency to 'honey trap' males with this behavior," they wrote.

Researchers said the study demonstrated that minocycline is the first drug shown to reduce the honey trap effect in young males.

"The current results indicate that minocycline may reduce the effect of arousal and lead to sober decision-making," researchers concluded.

The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports

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