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Not exactly breaking news: Sexy news anchors distract male viewers

In a new study that will surprise, well, no one we can think of, two researchers at Indiana University have found that attractive, dolled up lady newscasters make it harder for male viewers to retain the information of the broadcast. Heh, we said broadcast. We’re sure that this research will usher in a new wave of mousy, seriously dressed female news anchors — because the producers of these news shows really care how much information their viewers retain. Right?

The researchers created two newscasts read by a 24-year-old woman — in one, they write, she “was dressed in a tight-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt that accented her waist-to-hip ratio. She also wore bright red lipstick and a necklace.” In the other, she wore “a shapeless and loose-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt,” and neither lipstick nor necklace. The men watching sack dress lady recalled “significantly more information watching the unsexualized anchor deliver news than her sexualized version.” For women, the opposite was true, though the effect was far less noticeable.

But before we ladies get too cocky about how susceptible men are to a little lipstick and cleavage, know this: the lipstick actually just leveled the playing field in terms of information retention. In other words, when the lady wore a sack cloth, male viewers retained a lot more information from the broadcast than female viewers. When she wore lipstick, male and female viewers retained the same amount of information. But what we’d really like to know is, how much information would female viewers retain from a hot, sexy, male broadcaster? Oh, that’s right… there aren’t any. They all look like desexualized Ken dolls.

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