A new study has revealed that men suffer mental decline when around, or even just thinking about, women.
In the presence of a woman, men sometimes don’t know what to say. They just can’t think straight when women are around, the New York Daily News reported.
But the same didn’t hold true for women, according to the study from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, first published online last November.
Researchers compared the findings to a scene in Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina, in which a male character, Levi, becomes so nervous trying to think of something to tell a woman, Kitty, that he doesn’t recognize a friend who walks by the pond where they’re standing.
Such temporary lapses in memory or mindfulness are more common “if the woman is attractive and men report trying to impress her,” according to the study’s authors.
And they happen in real life, too.
The researchers used university students as participants for experiments.
During one, the students were asked to complete a lip reading task in which they said words out loud in front of a webcam. They were told someone would see them on the other end of the webcam, and try to read their lips.
Men who were told a woman would be watching them performed worse on subsequent tests of cognitive ability, even when there was no actual face-to-face contact with a woman. Women showed no change.
Researchers suggest the findings could be attributed to evolutionary pressures that have shaped men to be more likely to sexualize otherwise neutral situations, but say further study is necessary.