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Seeing your favourite team score is like having sex, claim brain scientists

By Hari Krishnan

London, Dec 14 (ANI): For a long time, women have grumbled that their partners are more interested in football than sex - and now - scientists have found the answer to the 'provoking' question.

Researchers at the Institute of Neurological Sciences, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, who looked into the brains of football fans while they watched a match, found that goals trigger the same pleasure areas as those associated with sexual arousal.

When a goal was missed, or during open play, different areas of the brain were activated, the researchers found.

The experts believe they are the first to have observed the brains of spectators during a game.

"Our main aim was to exploit the passion that some people have for sport and capture the acute and intensely pleasurable feeling experienced by supporters when a goal is scored," the Telegraph quoted clinical scientist John McLean, who led the study, as saying.

"Our results show that the part of the brain associated with intense pleasure, and which has been associated with arousal, is most active at the time a goal is scored, compared to other times. Whether it is as powerful a stimulus as sex, I don't know; perhaps for some people. It might be difficult, however, to do a study with people having sex in a scanner," the expert added.

The study is to be published in the journal Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging this week.

To reach the conclusion, the researchers used brain-scanning equipment on nine fervant Glasgow Rangers fans, all season ticket holders or former season ticket holders, while they watched a series of video clips of goals scored by their team. Each of the 30 clips was four second long, to avoid boredom setting in, with three seconds of build up followed by the goal.

For comparison, scans were also taken when the men were watching 30 clips where a goal was missed, and 52 which showed open play away from the goal. No sound was included in any of the clips.

Results show that activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of the brain was substantially higher when a goal was scored than when chances were missed and in open play.

Other research has found that the ACC is also highly active at times of intense pleasure. One study investigating sexual stimulation in men and women found that the ACC was one of the brain areas involved with arousal in both sexes. (ANI)

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