Can a ticking sound speed up a woman's biological clock?
Acting as more than just a metaphor to show the passing of time, the sound of a ticking clock may actually affect a woman's reproductive timing, says a team of researchers from Florida State University.
The researchers, who published their results in the journal Human Nature, completed two experiments to test the influence of the ticking sound of a small white kitchen clock on people's reproductive timing attitudes. In the first experiment, 59 men and women were asked questions about the age at which they’d like to marry and start a family. It assessed how socio-economic background might influence some people to delay their biological clocks, or begin to act. In the second experiment, the researchers examined to what extent 74 participants would alter the characteristics they normally sought in potential mates to possibly settle for less in order to have children sooner.
The results suggest that the sound of a ticking clock could indeed, influence various aspects of a woman’s reproductive timing, especially if she grew up in a lower socio-economic community. When the clock could be heard ticking, women in the study were more likely to want to get married and have their first child at a younger age and they also placed a lower priority on a man’s social status and earning potential. The sound of the ticking clock did not have a similar effect on men, however. The researchers believe this is because men don’t really have a time limit on their reproductive years and can father children well into adulthood.