‘Sex can make you smarter, porn dumber’

Making love might help you become smarter, but watching pornography could make you dumber, two separate research studies have suggested.

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While conducting experiments on mice and rats, researchers in Maryland and South Korea found that the sexual activity improves their mental performance and increases neurogenesis or the production of new neurons in the hippocampus.

Long-term memories are formed in the hippocampus.

“In April last year, a team from the University of Maryland reported that middle-aged rats permitted to engage in sex showed signs of improved cognitive function and hippocampal function,” The Atlantic reported.

In November, a group from Konkuk University in Seoul concluded that sexual activity counteracts the memory-robbing effects of chronic stress in mice.

“Sexual interaction could be helpful for buffering adult hippocampal neurogenesis and recognition memory function against the suppressive actions of chronic stress,” they wrote.

They added that “even brief viewing of pornographic images does interfere with people’s working memory” giving credence to the theory that growing brain cells through sex does appear to have some basis in scientific fact.

However, there’s some debate over whether pornography could be harmful to humans.

Neuroscientists from the University of Texas recently argued that excessive porn viewing, like other addictions, can result in permanent “anatomical and pathological” changes to the brain.

The view has, however, been challenged by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.

They said that the Texans “offered little, if any, convincing evidence to support their perspectives. Instead, excessive liberties and misleading interpretations of neuroscience research are used to assert that excessive pornography consumption causes brain damage.”

“Whether or not porn “addiction” literally damages the brain, even brief viewing of pornographic images does interfere with people’s “working memory”—the ability to mentally juggle and pay attention to multiple items,” the newspaper reported.

In October last year, a  study published in the Journal of Sex Research tested the working memory of 28 healthy individuals when they were asked to keep track of neutral, negative, positive, or pornographic stimuli.

“Results revealed worse working memory performance in the pornographic picture condition,” concluded Matthias Brand, head of the cognitive psychology department at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.

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