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No time to eat: an adaptationist account of periovulatory behavioral changes.

Authors
  • Fessler, Daniel M T
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Quarterly review of biology
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2003
Volume
78
Issue
1
Pages
3–21
Identifiers
PMID: 12661507
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

A comprehensive review of women's dietary behavior across the menstrual cycle suggests a drop in caloric intake around the time of ovulation; similar patterns occur in many other mammals. The periovulatory nadir is puzzling, as it is not explicable in terms of changes in the energy budget. Existing explanations in the animal literature operate wholly at the proximate level of analysis and hence do not address this puzzle. In this paper, I offer an ultimate explanation for the periovulatory feeding nadir, arguing that the decrease in the set point for satiation during the fertile period of the female cycle is an adaptation produced by natural selection in order to reduce the motivational salience of goals that compete with those directly or indirectly pertaining to mating. In support of this explanation, I adduce evidence of: a) periovulatory reductions in other ingestive behaviors, and b) periovulatory increases in motor activity and the psychological concomitants thereof.

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