Saturday, 12 June 2010

I’m Not Shallow: Just Genetically Programmed

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!


  1. "They make that decision on whether a woman would be a good mating partner in milliseconds."

    Indeed they do... They look, they notice it's a women rather than a lampost (for example), so they think "I'd give her one..." Then, much more slowly, reality kicks in, as the woman ignores him and continues with her tasks.

  2. Typo time: "...they notice it's a woman" not "women". I was distracted by the very thought.

  3. Are men just more distractable than women?

    Are they distracted by beauty of any sort and not just female beauty?

    I think we need to know this.

    We might be shallow, after all.

  4. This is the kind of research that from someone less refined (and gorgeous) than me would prompt the response "no shit Sherlock!"

  5. Anonymiss, ..... and you would say in your more refined way?

    Let us know!

  6. Ah it's a relief to see that our "window shopping" is genetically predetermined!

  7. You window-shop, Jams? I hope you're never tempted to purchase .... or does that take us somewhere else totally?

  8. I'm only shallow when I'm shopping.

    The first thing I see will do and I prefer it unwrapped.

  9. Not being acquainted with this very topic, I am just dropping in to offer Andrew a p.

  10. I'll keep it for when it is needed Sean, as it is not needed in lampost, which is the more common version of lamp-post (and lamppost is almost archaic now). All three versions are acceptable, however.

  11. Dogs often add a p to a lampost though, with one leg raised, even if the more traditional spelling is pee (at least among humans - I'm not sure how dogs spell it).

  12. I kneeeeeeeew it!
    Sic tacuisses, Sean! Now put your head on the pillow, and don't be suprised when dreaming of a rope, of crows - and when looking downwards noticing a dog standing on three legs ...