Obvious Science

Sexy News Anchors Are Distracting

This is certainly bad news for the Naked News website: Men have more difficulty remembering information from news programs when it is presented to them by attractive women, say two researchers at Indiana University. “Emphasis on the sexual attractiveness of female news anchors distracts from memory formation for news content,” they wrote in Communications Research, noting that “men’s cognitive mechanisms favored visual over verbal processing.” Four hundred men were assigned to watch one of two news programs—one hosted by a made-up female anchor in a revealing outfit, and another by a female anchor in loose-fitting clothes and no make-up. Men remembered “significantly more information watching the unsexualized anchor deliver news than her sexualized version.” For women test subjects, it was the opposite, but the effect was significantly less pronounced.