25 February 2010

"News for Wives"

True/Slant: Neuroworld | Ryan Sager | News for Wives

In Neuroworld’s grand tradition of posting items that might piss off my wife, here’s a little item: How hard is it for men not to look at a pretty woman? Pretty hard:
Facial beauty has important social and biological implications. Research has shown that people tend to look longer at attractive than at unattractive faces. However, little is known about whether an attractive face presented outside foveal vision can capture attention. The effect of facial attractiveness on covert attention was investigated in a spatial cuing task. Participants were asked to judge the orientation of a cued target presented to the left or right visual field while ignoring a task-irrelevant face image flashed in the opposite field. The presentation of attractive faces significantly lengthened task performance. The results suggest that facial beauty automatically competes with an ongoing cognitive task for spatial attention.
Via Barking Up the Wrong Tree. As mentioned, this doesn’t actually separate out by gender. But I’d love to see a study that does.
I am preemptively sorry, Future Mrs South Bend 7. I can't help it. IT'S SCIENCE!

(Hmmmm.  Perhaps I would be better served by apologizing on her behalf to all of her co-workers for the distraction she surely causes them by being pretty in their non-foveal visual field.  Wouldn't that be endearing?  Nothing says "aren't you glad you're marrying me?" like buttering a woman up with references to perceptual cognitive psychology research.)

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