Daniel W. Drezner

The trouble with dames in world politics

The Daily Telegraph reports scientific confirmation of something I have known deep, deep down in my psyche for going on three decades:  Talking to an attractive woman really can make a man lose his mind, according to a new study. The research shows men who spend even a few minutes in the company of an ...

The Daily Telegraph reports scientific confirmation of something I have known deep, deep down in my psyche for going on three decades

Talking to an attractive woman really can make a man lose his mind, according to a new study.

The research shows men who spend even a few minutes in the company of an attractive woman perform less well in tests designed to measure brain function than those who chat to someone they do not find attractive.

Researchers who carried out the study, published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, think the reason may be that men use up so much of their brain function or ‘cognitive resources’ trying to impress beautiful women, they have little left for other tasks.

The findings have implications for the performance of men who flirt with women in the workplace, or even exam results in mixed-sex schools.

Women, however, were not affected by chatting to a handsome man.

Well, beyond proof that there’s a very fine line between the truth and The Onion, I think there are several fascinating implications from this finding. 

1)  You gotta admit, this explains a lot about Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.  He is the foreign policy leader who seems most determined to be close to attractive women.  If you think about it, it’s nothing short of miraculous that Berlusconi hasn’t screwed up more than he actually has. 

2)  Attractive first ladies are trouble.  The closest the United States came to a nuclear confrontation was the Cuban Missile Crisis — which just happens to be when Jackie Kennedy is first lady.  A coincidence?  Oh, I think not! 

One can only hope that Presidents Obama and Sarkozy will recognize this and prevent Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni from being the 21st century equivalents of Helen of Troy

3)  Suddenly my Britney Spears suggestion is making a lot more sense. 

4)  Add another explanation to Angelina Jolie‘s relative success as a celebrity activist.  Semi-seriously, it would be interesting if gender was a determining factor in the ability of celebrity activists to move the agenda. 

5)  Whichever country makes Salma Hayek their queen will have finally chosen the One Woman to Rule Them All!!!

Dd I miss anything? 

The Daily Telegraph reports scientific confirmation of something I have known deep, deep down in my psyche for going on three decades

Talking to an attractive woman really can make a man lose his mind, according to a new study.

The research shows men who spend even a few minutes in the company of an attractive woman perform less well in tests designed to measure brain function than those who chat to someone they do not find attractive.

Researchers who carried out the study, published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, think the reason may be that men use up so much of their brain function or ‘cognitive resources’ trying to impress beautiful women, they have little left for other tasks.

The findings have implications for the performance of men who flirt with women in the workplace, or even exam results in mixed-sex schools.

Women, however, were not affected by chatting to a handsome man.

Well, beyond proof that there’s a very fine line between the truth and The Onion, I think there are several fascinating implications from this finding. 

1)  You gotta admit, this explains a lot about Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.  He is the foreign policy leader who seems most determined to be close to attractive women.  If you think about it, it’s nothing short of miraculous that Berlusconi hasn’t screwed up more than he actually has. 

2)  Attractive first ladies are trouble.  The closest the United States came to a nuclear confrontation was the Cuban Missile Crisis — which just happens to be when Jackie Kennedy is first lady.  A coincidence?  Oh, I think not! 

One can only hope that Presidents Obama and Sarkozy will recognize this and prevent Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni from being the 21st century equivalents of Helen of Troy

3)  Suddenly my Britney Spears suggestion is making a lot more sense. 

4)  Add another explanation to Angelina Jolie‘s relative success as a celebrity activist.  Semi-seriously, it would be interesting if gender was a determining factor in the ability of celebrity activists to move the agenda. 

5)  Whichever country makes Salma Hayek their queen will have finally chosen the One Woman to Rule Them All!!!

Dd I miss anything? 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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