Does Beauty Squash Our Intelligence?
Does being attractive hamper our intellectual development? A new study in social psychology suggests it does, according to Psych Central. In the study, women who are looked at as sexual objects not only react as sexual objects, they also exhibit less proficiency with math.
The research examined the effect of the “objectifying gaze” (the visual inspection of one’s body by another person) on undergraduates’ math performance. Motivation to interact with the objectifying person in the future was also measured as well as body image outcomes, including body surveillance, body shame, and body dissatisfaction.
“The objectifying gaze is particularly problematic for women,” according to Drs. Sarah J. Gervais, Theresa K. Vescio, and Jill Allen.
“And it may lead to a vicious cycle in which women are first objectified and, as a result, underperform, confirming the notion that women’s looks are more important than what they can do.”
Researchers found that the objectifying gaze lowered women’s math performance, but not men’s. The research was published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly.