I tried to come up with a thread title which is obviously linked to the first thread, which is less offensive than the first thread's title, and which is still informative as to what's going on.
The first thread is here: http://rabble.ca/babble/humanities-science/men-really-do-see-scantily-cl...
I believe some of the comments and criticisms may be due to a lack of familiarity with scientific culture, and the way research is currently done.
And once again, without any corresponding look at how females brains react to the same stimuli, this study by itself cannot tell us anything about sexual differences.
The debate here is based upon the conclusion that women's brains wouldn't show the same results, but we don't know if that is the case. ...
It seems to me that by itself very little is learned by this study.
What would be more interesting is to do this kind of analysis across a wider spectrum of people, genders and ages.
How do the brains of homosexuals react? What about people who are asexual, or people who haven't yet hit puberty? And what about other cultures? For instance, in cultures where men and women are more often unclothed and see each other naked more frequently, do these same effects occur?
I am not sure, but I believe this criticism is that there is less value in looking at one thing at a time.
That is true, but looking at one thing at a time does not mean looking at only one thing. It could be that they are planning on doing so in a follow-up study, or other people have already done so. MRI machines are very expensive. I mentioned before I was in a study and got paid $35 for 2 hours. They also had to rent the machine that time, they had to pay graduate students to supervise data acquisition... and then you have to pay people or invest the time yourself to process the data and put it together into a document. With 21 volounteers, who also took time to fill out a questionnaire, it's likely the costs were on the area of ~$5000. By having 21 volounteers of a similar demographic she can constrain some statistics properly, whereas if they were all of different demographics no statistics could be constrained. Very often with these sorts of things you publish a paper on some small set of findings, then apply for money to do the same thing with a larger sample. You mention other cultures... there's a financial cost in transportation there. MRI machines are in a set number of places, and it's sometimes hard to find study participants.
The nature of funding, along with the possibility of surprises, encourage a system of breaking up large questions into small pieces and eventually writing a review article, rather than being comprehensive the first time around.