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Cap'n Refsmmat

Science Proves the Obvious

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http://www.science-direct.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WJB-4W99W49-1&_user=10&_coverDate=05%2F15%2F2009&_rdoc=14&_fmt=high&_orig=browse&_srch=doc-info%28%23toc%236874%239999%23999999999%2399999%23FLA%23display%23Articles%29&_cdi=6874&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_ct=72&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=423a696535751f5ce6496af88f1514c1

 

Two studies, in which participants interacted either with a same-sex or opposite-sex other, demonstrated that men’s (but not women’s) cognitive performance declined following a mixed-sex encounter.

 

I'd like to see the full paper behind this one. I wonder if I can get journal access from my university yet...

edit: yes, I can. If you have questions about how they did the study, fire away. I have the manuscript.

 

The article suggests that boys' underachievement in schools compared to women may be a result of this phenomenon, rather than purely because of motivation and personality differences. Too much of their cognitive resources are spent impressing women. An argument for single-sex schools?

Edited by Cap'n Refsmmat

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You wouldn't happen to know (I can't find it in the linked outline) the number of times they repeated these five-minute tests? (Not that the results are unbelievable; I'm just trying to be critical.)

 

With 53 male and 58 female participants in the second study, the noted decline in cognitive performance in men (~40 ms increased time on average) after mixed-sex interactions was only around several percent. If they didn't repeat the experiment many times, this isn't very reliable, and even if they did with such a small sample size they might just have particular people who were "slower" in those situations, such that it wasn't the case generally. Also, did these students submit their orientations before the study?

 

I don't have the full set of data points, but the S.D. of the female mixed-sex interactions was 73 ms, versus 45 ms for the males, the difference between which is about the difference in the means themselves. So technically for normal distributions about the given means we'd expect more females at times above a little over one S.D. (~680 ms). (And even if not, with a S.D. that high presumably some females were affected and some were less so, so that the final statement that females were not affected by the different situations isn't really as general as implied, particularly if to give that mean and S.D. a fair number responded by being quicker.)

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Actually I do not think that repetition with the same subject helps as they are not independent samples. For higher accuracy a larger n would be more beneficial. Also such cross-sectional studies obviously cannot give any indication to individuals but only for the population.

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They did not repeat the tests. The paper doesn't have much statistics at all besides a basic ANCOVA for each experiment, and does not make any comment on the influence of sample sizes or confounding variables.

 

However,

There was some evidence that also women’s cognitive performance

declined if they did have a relatively strong goal to impress the opposite-sex other.

 

In the sample sizes they had I'm not sure strong that evidence is, but it's interesting regardless.

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Hmmm... So are they declaring this a species wide phenomena?

 

I think alot of it has to do with the way our culture molds us.

 

I hypothesize that there many groups of males who actually perform better in a mixed-gender interactions (motivation), and some who are not affected at all (habituation?).

 

I would not say this is an innate behavior on the male's part.

 

Human behavior is entirely malleable by outside factors.

 

That's just a thought.....

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An argument for single-sex schools?

 

God forbid...

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