How being around a woman – or even mentioning her name – can make a man more stupid
It has often been said that a man can become a bumbling mess in front of a beautiful woman. Now it seems there is actually some scientific basis to the idea.
New research has found that the mere mention of a woman's name can temporarily affect a man's brainpower.
A study at the Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands revealed that even the presence of a female name on an instant message or text was enough to have an impact.
Get it together: A new study has showed how men fared worse in cognitive tests if they believed a woman was observing them
Miller-McCune reported how researchers performed a series of cognitive
tests on a group of up to 90 young, heterosexual men and women.
They included the simple Stroop test, which is commonly used in neuropsychological evaluations, and a lip-reading task that required them to read short words out loud in front of a webcam.
In both instances, the researchers recorded changes when male participants were told that they were being observed by a woman.
The experiments showed that women weren't affected in any way by who they believed they were interacting with.
The team, lead by
psychologist Johan Karremans and lead study author Sanne Nauts, explained in the Archives of Sexual Behavior: 'Casually mentioning a female instead of a male
name was sufficient to impair men’s cognitive performance.'
They added that participants did not even need to know what the woman in question looked like to be affected.
'These effects occur even if men do not get information about the woman’s attractiveness'
'These effects occur even if men do not get information about the woman’s attractiveness,' they added.
The research supports findings from a 2009 study by Dr Karremans, which came to the conclusion that men suffered from
temporary stupidity after interacting with women.
Researchers could not explain why male reactions were so different from female ones in the study, though one theory they suggest is that the time men notoriously spend thinking about sex colours their response to sexually neutral situations.
While women believe that they need only look pretty to score a
date, they suggested, men rely on character, charm and wit and therefore their behaviour
in social situations fluctuates more aggressively.
However, as Miller-McCune
points out, those tested had a combined average age of 21 which leaves
space for hope that with maturity comes an ability to think and talk to
women without engaging in a mating game.