by Craig Weatherby
The results of a new study from the Netherlands confirm that men go ga-ga over pretty women.
In fact, they literally lose their minds… while women keep theirs.
The study measured brain function in 40 male heterosexual student volunteers.
The men were asked to perform a standard memory test in which they were shown a stream of letters and had to quickly say if each was the same as the previous letter.
They then spent several minutes talking to either a man or an attractive woman and then repeated the test.
Even a few minutes with the attractive woman was enough to make the students slower and less accurate on the test. The more attracted they were, the worse their results.
In contrast, during a second phase of the study involving 53 men and 58 women, the test scores of women students in the company of handsome men were unaffected.
The research team propose that natural selection has programmed men to regard women first as potential mates… when a man is talking to an attractive woman he is “reproductively focused” and (unconsciously) concerned with passing on his genes (Karremans JC et al. 2009).
The men in the study concentrated their brain power on trying to impress the woman, and there was little left over for the task they had been given.
Prior studies suggest that women are less focused on appearances, and look for other signs of a perfect mate, such as youth, social status, kindness, and wealth.
The study holds interesting implications for the workplace and schools.
As the authors wrote, “The current findings have some interesting practical and theoretical implications, for example with regard to recently revived debates about single-sex vs. coed schools... our findings suggest that male’s cognitive abilities may actually decline in such mixed-sex settings” (Karremans JC et al. 2009).
The idea for the study came from one of the scientists, who told Phys.org that he was so impressed by a beautiful woman he met that when she asked where he lived, he had forgotten his own address… he’d temporarily lost his mind.
- Karremans JC, Verwijmerena T, Pronka TM, Reitsmaa M. Interacting with women can impair men’s cognitive functioning. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology; Volume 45, Issue 4, July 2009, Pages 1041-1044