And the abstract explains as follows:
Menstrual cycle phase alters women's sexual preferences for composers of more complex music
Two-alternative forced-choice experiments revealed that woman only preferred composers of more complex music as short-term sexual partners when conception risk was highest. No preferences were displayed when women chose which composer they would prefer as a long-term partner in a committed relationship, and control experiments failed to reveal an effect of conception risk on women's preferences for visual artists. These results suggest that women may acquire genetic benefits for offspring by selecting musicians able to create more complex music as sexual partners, and provide compelling support for Darwin's assertion ‘that musical notes and rhythm were first acquired by the male or female progenitors of mankind for the sake of charming the opposite sex’.Here is a link to the study and here is a journalist's report. You might think that we are talking about the sexual attractiveness of the Elliot Carters among us, but it turns out that the study's idea of "complexity" is pretty simple:
the women listened to four versions of two different piano melodies, each increasing in complexity. For example, at level one, both compositions used only two chords, but by level four, they turned into a seven-chord mini-opuses with syncopation.We may be talking about "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" with or without added sevenths and quarter note syncopation.
The trouble with the reporting on this study is it never quite gives the reader enough information to decide just how loony the study really was. I don't know about anyone else, but I sure didn't pick up the guitar to get more dates with girls. I think it was more to have something to do while not getting dates!