Mens’ brains stop working after talking to attractive female colleagues, according to a new study.
In an experiment at the Dutch University of Radboud, students took part in a series of tests that were interrupted midway by a conversation with a person of the same or opposite sex.
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When the test continued, the men’s performance had deteriorated notably if they had been talking to a woman.
And the results got markedly worse if they had found the woman attractive.
The difference is thought to be that when men talk to beautiful women, they are so preoccupied with thinking about what they are saying, what they look like and how they are perceived that some brain functions are shut down — even after the conversation has ended.
Researcher Johan Karremans said: “The results were dramatically worse if the man thought the woman was attractive.
“Cognitive ability works like a muscle. If you do a lot of hard work it tires after a while and that leaves you less power to do other things.”
But he added that all that brain effort was not necessarily wasted, adding: “We noticed that the men who did the most to impress also got more attention from the women.”
Neither does he recommend separating men and women at work.
“No, in real life the effects may not be that huge. There may also be other benefits, like the fact that you get a more pleasant work environment.”