Monday, December 17, 2012

From the "No shit, Sherlock" research department

The mere anticipation of an interaction with a woman can impair men's cognitive performance.

Archives of sexual behavior, (2012) 41:1051-1056 

Abstract

Recent research suggests that heterosexual men's (but not heterosexual women's) cognitive performance is impaired after an interaction with someone of the opposite sex (Karremans et al., 2009). These findings have been interpreted in terms of the cognitive costs of trying to make a good impression during the interaction. In everyday life, people frequently engage in pseudo-interactions with women (e.g., through the phone or the internet) or anticipate interacting with a woman later on. The goal of the present research was to investigate if men's cognitive performance decreased in these types of situations, in which men have little to no opportunity to impress her and, moreover, have little to no information about the mate value of their interaction partner. Two studies demonstrated that men's (but not women's) cognitive performance declined if they were led to believe that they interacted with a woman via a computer (Study 1) or even if they merely anticipated an interaction with a woman (Study 2). Together, these results suggest that an actual interaction is not a necessary prerequisite for the cognitive impairment effect to occur. Moreover, these effects occur even if men do not get information about the woman's attractiveness. This latter finding is discussed in terms of error management theory


Thank you, Vince!

14 comments:

Charles said...

But, the real important question is this - did they waste any of MY tax dollars to "discover" this?

dsoz said...

It can be called the "testosterone poisoning effect." Where the testosterone damages brain cells. It can be seen every day in high schools across the country.

BobF said...

I'm with Charles. Waste YOUR time, OK, but waste MY money, not OK.

brent said...

So this is news that blood flows from the big head to the small head? Where do I sign up from some of this grant money?

a.generic doc said...

In the next phase of the study (giving them another publication) will they measure blood flow to see if the common impression that men don't have enough blood to fill the big head and the little head at the same time is the cause of this phenomenon?

Ms. Donna said...

This is news?

Packer said...

Huh ? I'm not following this.

Anonymous said...

I was curious enough to look at the original article. Both studies were conducted in the Netherlands. Odds are, your tax dollars had nothing to do with it.

Jenn said...

::sigh::

blu said...

I don't quite understand why everyone's getting so upset. These findings might be a truism, but they still need to be researched. Also I find it very interesting that this phenomenon does not apply to women.
Only if we can prove that such phenomenons exist can we go on to find out why they exist and so on... Isn't that what science is about?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I love this, from the abstract:

In everyday life, people frequently engage in pseudo-interactions with women (e.g., through the phone or the internet) or anticipate interacting with a woman later on.

Two sentences earlier, we were talking about men and women; now we're talking about how "people" interact with women.

Then again, it could be just bad translation, if it's a Dutch study. The later bit about "the mate value of their interaction partner" would seem to support that, except that social scientists really do talk like that, even when fluent in English.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I'm quite disappointed to hear people complaining about 'wasting' funding on a study to examine, well, anything that hasn't already been debunked or tested and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Questioning and testing assumptions is a big part of what scientists are supposed to do.

Actually, I think they're stumbling around on the tip of a metaphorical iceberg. Any bets on what sort of relationship they'll find between their subjects' biases/assumptions about women, and their reaction to the thought of an upcoming interaction? I'm guessing there's a difference between groups of people who think of women as 'people' and groups of those who manage to think of them exclusively as 'women'...

Steeny Lou said...

I thought I commented. Was my comment too offensive? I don't see it. My apologies if I stepped over the line in my silly humour.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I didn't see (or block) any comment from you, Steeny. Maybe it's lost in the ether.

 
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