Sunday, June 22, 2008

Less Clothing = Less Thinking

A new study confirms water is wet - well, not quite, but......

This month’s issue of the Journal of Consumer Research features a paper titled “Bikinis Instigate Generalized Impatience in Intertemporal Choice,” which is a neuroeconomist’s (definition in a moment) way of saying that men don’t make good decisions while checking out pretty girls in bikinis.

In the “bikini” experiments, Belgian researchers conducted a series of tests on 358 young men. In one test, the men looked at images of women in bikinis or lingerie and at images of landscapes. In another, some men were given T-shirts to handle and assess while others were given bras. Another batch of men was assigned to watch a commercial featuring men running over landscapes while other guys watched a video of “hundreds of young women, dressed in bikinis running across hills, fields and beaches.”

The men were then offered a choice of immediately getting some money, or bargaining for a larger sum sometime later.

The results (drum roll):

“I observed in my studies that men are more likely to pick a smaller immediate reward over a larger later reward,” Bram van den Bergh, the study’s lead author, tells me. “Hence I do think that men might spend money on something they might otherwise not purchase. Men would become more impulsive in any domain after exposure to sexual cues.”

The 2006 study also mentioned must have been interesting to conduct.

......they asked men to masturbate while answering a series of questions on a computer. (They helpfully created a system that could be operated with one hand.)

One of the researchers analyzes the findings.... and other strong drives “produce a kind of tunnel vision.”
“Drives are designed to motivate you to focus on specific goals; they have evolved for that purpose, to focus on the goal to the exclusion of other goals or considerations,” he says.
So a man who is aroused literally narrows his view of the world. When we’re thinking about sex, pretty much all we can think about is sex.

I think my dropping jaw may have bruised my sternum. However......

In fact, studies have shown that sexy ads don’t really make men remember the product. We’re so lasered in on the sexy stuff, we don’t care what brand of beer it is, or how long it takes the car to go from zero to 60.

So why do advertisers make sexy ads if they don't work? I think it's a result of the effect mentioned. The advertisers are probably men, and imagining sexy ads messes up their thinking.

1 comment:

Dale said...

... and that must be why fans sometimes show a big poster of a partially-nude woman to distract free-throw shooters.

I'm surprised it doesn't work better.