40 teens gathered in a roundhouse on a university campus with one common passion: science. The 4-H Rutgers Teen Science Cafe had our first teen cafe with Dr. Larry Katz from Rutgers University who discussed the science of love and heartbreak and the affects in both humans and animals. Falling in love can be classified into three stages: lust, attraction, and attachment. During these 3 stages, different hormones are released such as sex hormones during lust, monoamines during attraction, and oxytocin and vasopressin during attachment. Humans subconsciously pick mates based on who has better chances of survival – perhaps say “based on genetics” since I think you mean survival of genes/offspring. One experiment tested this and had men perform rigorous activity that makes them sweat then send their shirts to the researchers who made women smell it and decide which one they liked best. The women ended up picking shirts which had similar scents to previous males in their family line. When picking a mate, we think about our future children and decide whether we would like our children to have these genes and how well they will survive.
Dr. Katz is currently researching reproductive behaviors in goats and brought in actual goats from his research. Goats attract mates by urinating on themselves, meaning that goats are also attracted to one another based on scent. His research also taught us that when goats urinate on themselves, they are more prone to infections and injuries but they are willing to do this if it increases their likeliness of finding a mate.
After his presentation, questions were asked about Dr. Katz’s career track and more about his research.
Some information on:
Hands on Activity
Dr. Katz brought out his research goats during lunch time. We were given the opportunity to touch them and interact with them, but most participants were shy to do so.