NOM BLOG

Maggie Gallagher on "The Growing Science of Sex Difference"

 

NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher's syndicated column in Human Events:

The headline at the online magazine Miller-McCune.com just about says it all: "Sex on the Brain Proves Costly for Men."

In an intriguing set of empirical studies just published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, a team of social scientists led by professor Sanne Nauts shows that the mere prospect of speaking with an unknown woman reduces men's (but not women's) performance on cognitive tasks.

In the first study, 71 college students at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands were asked to complete a "lip-reading task" while supposedly being observed on a webcam by an unseen researcher who would instant message them. When the alleged researcher messaging them was named "Lisa," the men performed worse than when the purported observer messaging them had a male name.

In a second study -- this one involving 90 students -- the researchers decided to create even more distance between actual interaction with a woman to see if merely imagining that they were about to interact with a woman could affect men's cognitive performance.