Bombshell study: Men retain less information when delivered by attractive women newscasters

Silly, palate-cleansing fun from Miller-McCune. I’ve seen this story linked on four or five different sites today, in fact, and without fail, every post includes a photo or mention of Megyn Kelly. So I threw you a Jenna Lee curveball with the front-page thumbnail. Redheads for the win.

It’s nice at least to see science finally catching up to male Fox News viewers. Maybe this explains why KP occasionally sounds incoherent to me?

Two Indiana University scholars report that, for male viewers, “emphasis on the sexual attractiveness of female news anchors distracts from memory formation for news content.” They found that “men’s cognitive mechanisms favored visual over verbal processing,” which is a delicate way of saying their focus — and subsequent memory — are more on the broadcaster’s appearance than on the material she was delivering…

Looking at the data a different way, when the anchor had a desexualized appearance, men retained more of the information she presented than women. But when she was dolled up, the men’s retention level dropped to the point where the two genders retained the same amount of content…

It also confirms something women have long suspected: A sexually charged image can flood the male brain, stimulating its visual processing component “to levels that demand close to full cognitive capacity.”

New theory for why Fox’s numbers on trustworthiness are down: The four-hour Lee/Kelly programming bloc has rendered the news a total blur for most male viewers, with the bits of info retained from 11 to 3 reduced to mental shards until Shep comes on to glue them back together. Imagine if they had Julie Banderas in at that hour instead of him. Practically the whole day would be lost.

Semi-serious question: Er, why are men retaining more news information than women under circumstances where the anchor isn’t sexually attractive? Given previous studies about memory, shouldn’t that be the other way around?