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Congwen Wang's picture

Inhibitions, pheromones, etc.

One of the most interesting notion in our class is the wide existence of inhibition in our nervous system. I've never thought about this matter before, and I find it actually quite important. Without a certain level of inhibition, we may experience extensive exposure to all kinds of stimuli and get exhausted by processing those useless stimuli. Besides, it is amazing that our bodies are designed - in fact, evolve - to be able to filter unnecessary outputs even before they enter the nervous system. We can't hear ultrasonic sound, so we won't be bothered by the constant air disturbance around us.

Another intriguing topic is the effect of pheromone. I wonder what the advantage of menstrual synchronicity is from an evolutional perspective. One hypothesis of this matter is that since polygamy was common in the past, the male individual might get confused if his female partners are in different phases of menstrual cycle. However, I can hardly agree with this hypothesis. I feel that different ovulation time can actually increase the chance producing more offspring, because menstrual synchrony will decrease the time for the male to mate with different female. Therefore, the evolutional value of menstrual synchrony may lie somewhere else. I think this might be relevant with the synchrony of male body temperature cycle and female menstrual cycle, but I need more evidence. I may use this as the topic of my next paper.

Also, a brilliant collection of brilliant photos of flowers under UV light:

Professor Grobstein, thank you for reminding me why I love plants so much!



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