No, this isn’t just a cheap excuse to display a picture of Pamela Anderson.
I just received this from a regular reader:
"Dear Dr Petty,
Have you seen this article Times Online?
“WHEN men meet fair-haired women they really do have a “blonde moment”. Scientists have found that their mental performance drops, apparently because they believe they are dealing with someone less intelligent.
Researchers discovered what might be called the “bimbo delusion” by studying men’s ability to complete general knowledge tests after exposure to different women. The academics found that men’s scores fell after they were shown pictures of blondes.
Further analysis convinced the team that, rather than simply being distracted by the flaxen hair, those who performed poorly had been unconsciously driven by social stereotypes to “think blonde”.
“This proves that people confronted with stereotypes generally behave in line with them,” said Thierry Meyer, joint author of the study and professor of social psychology at the University of Paris X-Nanterre. “In this case blondes have the potential to make people act in a dumber way, because they mimic the unconscious stereotype of the dumb blonde.”
Do you have any comment to make about the research??"
The answer is that I have seen this article all over the Internet, with all kinds of sage comments.
The trouble is that I have not yet been able to read and critique the research. As far as I know, neither the hard copy nor electronic versions are available yet, so I cannot evaluate the report.
This highlights one of the problems of the Internet: news travels across it like the wind, yet a lot of material is passed on without analysis. So the story is fun to read, but until we can see and analyze the data, we cannot comment.
As soon as I get a copy I shall see if I have anything to add to the firestorm of commentary!