Why You Remember What I Say

In the "You Don't Say" category, new research suggests that the more attractive a female news anchor is, the less likely men remember a word she says.

Uh, duh.

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The study was done by two women at Indiana University, who divided a group of 400 people in two. Miller-McCune reportsthat one group watched a typical news story told by a female anchor dressed in tight-fitting clothes wearing red lipstick and a necklace. The other group watched the same story, except this time the woman was dressed in loose fitting clothes, with no lipstick or necklace.

"Male participants saw the sexualized version of the anchor as less suited for war and political reporting. They also encoded less news information presented by the sexualized than her unsexualized version. Conclusions were drawn in line with evolutionary psychology expectations of men's cognitive susceptibility to visual sex cues."

I hope we didn't spend taxpayer dollars to figure this one out.

Bottom line: the men didn't think the pretty lady could handle tough assignments, couldn't remember much of what she said, but ratings history tells us they will probably continue to tune in because she's hot.

"Looking at the data a different way, when the anchor had a desexualized appearance, men retained more of the information she presented than women." writes Tom Jacobs of Miller-McCune. "But when she was dolled up, the men's retention level dropped to the point where the two genders retained the same amount of content."

I'm seeing this as glass half full for yours truly. Believe me, I work hard to make the most of what gifts God has given me, but one can only do so much. I'm not exhibiting false modesty here — I work with boatloads of beautiful, younger women. That's why I go to the hair dresser so much, try not to eat Pizza & Cookies, and work on my personality. Good news! You remember what I say!

Another study actually went so far as to rate which network has the most sexy anchors(CNBC wasn't included). "Female newscasters on Univision's Primer Impacto, who double as models on its website, always exhibited “high” sex appeal compared to 93% of newscasters on MSNBC, 49% on Fox News, and 39% on CNN." CNN, Ouch!

But speaking of the other "gender" Tom Jacobs mentioned above...

The Indiana University study says an overtly attractive anchorwoman had the opposite effect on female viewers than she did on men. The women remember slightly more of what she said compared to her less glamorous counterpart. But, as Jacobs points out, there wasn't a study on how female viewers respond to sexed-up male anchors.

Maybe because, sadly, there are so few of them.

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