The Daily Telegraph carries a pseudo-scientific story with this strapline:
“Men take a fraction of a second to decide if they are attracted to a woman or not – but they should not be called shallow because they are genetically programmed to do so, scientists say.”
The article continues,
“They tested men and women's bias towards looks by conducting a series of tests on 20 women and 20 men, making them perform tasks while recording their brain activity.
While the subjects were doing the task they were shown a series of photographs of faces of the opposite sex, ranging from attractive to ugly.
Men were easily distracted when they saw a pretty face but women stuck to the task.”
One of the authors of the study said:
“Men definitely have the most wandering eye but it is because they have evolved to pay attention to cues of fertility and one of those cues is facial beauty – it's not that men are shallow. ….. They make that decision on whether a woman would be a good mating partner in milliseconds. This is something very ancient and a way of helping men find the best mate to produce children.”
"Women were not distracted by attractive male faces because women need more proof of whether a man is a good mate.”
I hope there’s much more in the paper when published because the scientists have found an effect: men are distracted from a task more quickly than is a woman and looks play a part.
But leaping from this effect to stating THE cause is a very large leap indeed.
In the meantime I’ll relax in the knowledge that I may be fat but, at least, I’m not shallow!