Why Interacting with a Woman Can Leave Men "Cognitively Impaired"

Movies and television shows are full of scenes where a man tries unsuccessfully to interact with a pretty woman. In many cases, the potential suitor ends up acting foolishly despite his best attempts to impress. It seems like his brain isn’t working quite properly and according to new findings, it may not be.

A 2009 study demonstrated that after a short interaction with an attractive woman, men experienced a decline in mental performance. A more recent study suggests that this cognitive impairment takes hold even when men simply anticipate interacting with a woman who they know very little about.

A related 2009 study Study: Men Losing Their Minds Over Women

According to Dr George Fieldman, a member of the British Psychological Society, when a man is talking to an attractive woman he is 'reproductively focused'...

The idea for the study came from one of the scientists, who was so impressed by a beautiful woman he met that when she asked where he lived, he had forgotten his own address! He had temporarily lost his mind.

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Guilty as charged......

But, ouch too.

Someone could make an argument out of this that we should be kept at home to do the dishes...

Misogynous men do. When searching for stuff about men distracted by beautiful women, I came across several by employers who claimed they never hired beautiful women because they thought it impaired the performance of their male employees. It's the same kind of logic behind the burka.

In a word, yes.

And this is especially true for those of us who, for whatever reason, find ourselves in heavily male-dominated professions (in my case, engineering).  Just an observation here, not a judgment call: the dynamics of a technical conference are appreciably different when the speaker is an attractive woman.

I read that article a day or two ago and thought it was interesting.  When I was dating, I noticed I often couldn't think of what I wanted to say if I was looking at my date's face.  That's why I enjoyed conversing the most when I was driving my car.  Keeping my eyes on the road was a good excuse to keep my eyes off of her!

Of course, I've always been shy and a slow-thinker, so, if I remember right, I had the same trouble looking at a male's face, although to a lesser extent.  Since reading the article, I will now try to remember noticing how I respond in my face to face communications.

As far as the movies go, I often get annoyed with them showing a male reverting to an IQ of 10 when he meets an attractive woman, and not being able to resist her.  What an over-the-top piece of crappola!  As bad as I was, I was nowhere near as bad as a lot of movies show, and I doubt any male is.  As you can probably guess, I usually like movies where the characters are realistically portrayed.

Guys don't even have to see women, just interacting with a woman via computer (with no information about her attractiveness) impairs them. Just anticipating an interaction with a woman impairs male cognition.

The mere anticipation of an interaction with a woman can impair men...

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.




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