Home > science > New way to bury bad news – get a sexy woman to read it…

New way to bury bad news – get a sexy woman to read it…

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I came across another scientific study today that once again left me wondering if I had gone into the right area of research back when I was a PhD student.

In an apparent attempt to capture channel-surfing male viewers, stations have hired attractive female anchors, often outfitting them in attire that emphasizes their sexuality.

This strategy may boost the ratings, but in terms of the programs’ purported purpose — informing the public — recent research suggests it has a definite down side. Males may be drawn to those alluring anchors, but they may not remember what they were talking about.

Unfortunately, the full paper is not freely available. However according to the news coverage:

[The investigators] created two versions of their own short newscast, both of which featured the same 24-year-old female anchor.

For the first version, the broadcast journalist “was dressed in a tight-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt that accented her waist-to-hip ratio,” they write. “She also wore bright red lipstick and a necklace.” For the alternate version, she was dressed in “a shapeless and loose-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt,” and wore no lipstick or necklace.

“The anchorwoman was framed in a medium-long shot to reveal her upper body, including her upper thighs, waist and hips,” the researchers note. “The news stories were about local matters, including United Way fundraising, interest rate changes for federal loan programs” and the like.

Watch out, here comes the science bit!

The just under 400 participants were randomly assigned to watch one version or the other. All then filled out questionnaires summarizing their impressions of the reporter. They were also asked four multiple-choice questions about her physical appearance, and 10 multiple-choice questions about the content of the five stories she presented.

The researchers found the men recalled “significantly more information watching the unsexualized anchor deliver news than her sexualized version.”

 In conclusion, and the reporter couldn’t really have put it any better:

It also confirms something women have long suspected: A sexually charged image can flood the male brain, stimulating its visual processing component “to levels that demand close to full cognitive capacity.”

Someone please tell me – where do you get funding for research like this…? 😉

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Categories: science
  1. 2011-01-30 at 18:26

    >Hugh Hefner perhaps? 😉

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