Peer-reviewed research: Men find looking at nearly naked women distracting

Nothing is true unless it has been demonstrated and published in a peer-reviewed journal. For example, until last week, many people suspected that when men look at nearly or completely naked women, they tend to be distracted. Anybody who believed that was foolish to do so because it had never been “scientifically” proven.

If they did believe it, they probably did so based on their academically-discredited intuitions. Amateurs.

But scientific researchers Bram Van den Bergh, Siegfried Dewitte,and Luk Warlop have finally leant scientific credibility to the popular belief, which we are now free to label as “scientific.” These researchers published their stunning findings in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. The journal article was summarized in a newspaper report here.

The title of their article is “Bikinis Instigate Generalized Impatience in Intertemporal Choice.” Their abstract follows

Neuroscientific studies demonstrate that erotic stimuli activate the reward circuitry processing monetary and drug rewards. Theoretically, a general reward system may give rise to nonspecific effects: exposure to ?hot stimuli? from one domain may thus affect decisions in a different domain. We show that exposure to sexy cues leads to more impatience in intertemporal choice between monetary rewards. Highlighting the role of a general reward circuitry, we demonstrate that individuals with a sensitive reward system are more susceptible to the effect of sex cues, that the effect generalizes to nonmonetary rewards, and that satiation attenuates the effect.

In you cannot read this, do not worry, for it is not written in English, but in academese, a language which frequently borrows English words, but changes their meanings and which otherwise has no similarity to plain English. Luckily for you, dear reader, I have been trained in academese and can translate the abstract for you:

When men look at naked women, their brains get excited and they have thoughts of getting lucky. When men see naked women, they get distracted and cannot concentrate on the tasks at hand. When we showed a group of men pictures of nearly naked women, they lost patience with a betting game we tried playing with them. The hornier the men were the less they were interested in our game, and in anything else we had to say. After a while, the men got bored of looking at the same women and wanted to move on.

As I said, this is ground-breaking research as it brings to light relationships of men to naked women never before suspected.

Rumor has it the three researchers, who are from Belgium, plan on studying the effects of increasing dosages of the C2H4OH molecule on men’s perception of female attractiveness. I for one, cannot wait to find out.


  1. Let’s not leave out the important part: they were PAID to do this research.

    Everybody involved got paychecks to perform this feat of science, including the employees of the peer-reviewed journal. It was a commercial venture. They did it for the money.

    After decades of child and dog rearing, I have learned that if you reward a behavior, the subject is likely to repeat it. In contrast, if a behavior elicits punishment or the withholding of reward, then it is less likely to be repeated.

    Scientists are not unlike children or dogs in their response to rewards and punishments. Even if a deliberate scam, they would not have carried it out were the rewards not so easily gained and punishments so rare and mild.

  2. It’s the TITLE of the article that I find so misleading. If they’d said “Tits Instigate Generalized Impatience… etc.” the title might have demonstrated more accuity. Perhaps you aren’t allowed to say ‘Tits’ in peer reviewed journals (not safe for peers’?) The word — if not the image — is permitted in the Financial Times… does that count?.

    Do we know, incidentally, that it wasn’t “gorgeous glutea”? Or even “shapely waists” or “hips that …”. Well, you get the picture. There are many so many things that might be more interesting than the cloth containers… It’s frustrating that social scientists are not more precise, isn’t it?

  3. steven mosher

    I promise not to make any remarks about getting lucky.

  4. Bernie

    I am in LA with a huge group of Rotarians – thnaks to my wife. I am having a drink with a group of 50 year olds and the waitress is one of those extraordinarily pretty starlet types. The chairs are low. She actually kneels down so she can hear my drink order. I am totally confused and for a brief moment speechless. This is noticed with great humor by all around me.

    Should I relay this field observation to the “scientists” in Belgium. I have a number of eyewitnesses and this story has now been retold countless times in the last 24 hours. I hasten to add that this effect was present even though she had all her clothes on and was modestly attired!!! My wife will bear witness to all of the above.

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