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Is Watching Porn Making Your Brain Shrink?

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Natasha Hakimi Zapata
Assistant Editor and Poetry Editor
Natasha Hakimi Zapata is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American Literature at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. She also holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a…
Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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Bad news for “men who watch large amounts of sexually explicit material”: The habit has been linked to less cerebral gray matter, the area of brains where most neural functions are concentrated. Researchers, however, are still looking into whether watching so much pornography actually causes brain shrinkage or is merely an effect of it. Could it be case of reciprocal causation?

The Guardian:

“Future studies should investigate the effects of pornography longitudinally or expose naive participants to pornography and investigate the causal effects over time,” said researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

The institute recruited 64 male subjects aged 21-45 “with a broad range of pornography consumption”…”Our findings indicated that grey matter volume of the right caudate of the striatum is smaller with higher pornography use,” the researchers said.

Furthermore, when sexually explicit material was shown, the men’s MRIs showed diminished function in a part of the brain that processes motivation.

But were men with smaller striatums seeking more porn, or did more porn make the brain smaller? Was it a consequence, or a precondition?

Read more

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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