Facebook is for losers

A while since I posted this but the evidence all suggests that using social media can make you feel inadequate by comparing yourself with artificially inflated/enhanced profiles & pictures or number of people who like you.

Mike the Psych's Blog

figure_bed_computer_1600_wht_14033Most people who use Facebook do so to add positive updates but generally people who use Facebook tend to be more frustrated, angry and lonely.

This might be because positive updates from their “friends” make them feel inadequate.

Now researchers at Ohio University have discovered that people in a bad mood turn to social network sites and look up people less attractive or less successful than themselves rather than those more attractive and more successful.

Given a choice of profiles to look at on a new social networking link called SocialLink participants who had been put in a negative state of mind – by being given poor feedback on a test – spent more time looking at the profiles of people who were less attractive and less successful.

The message is if you’re feeling bad look for someone who’s feeling even worse and regain your emotional superiority.



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Fancy a clever women?

BusinesswomanPsychologist have discovered that while men may like the idea of dating a more intelligent women they shy away if it has a chance of becoming a reality.

Men are more likely to rate women more intelligent than themselves as attractive if they have no chance of meeting them.

When they were asked to rate women who they thought they were actually going to meet they suddenly found them less attractive and preferred women who were less smart!

The American researchers asked 105 men to deal with a hypothetical scenario involving a woman who had either outperformed or under performed them in tests of maths and English. Asked to think of them as romantic partners the men ranked the women more highly if they were outperformed by them. “Men formed favourable impressions and showed greater interest in women who displayed more intelligence than themselves“.

In a second experiment the men were asked to complete an intelligence test before being asked to meet a woman who had either done better or worse than them on the test. The researchers found that men about to meet a more intelligent women “distanced themselves from her and tended to rate her as less attractive and showed less desire to exchange contact information or plan a date with her”

The psychologists thought that the mere presence of a more intelligent woman made them feel threatened and diminished their masculinity.

Other studies have suggested that men want clever women to increase the chance of having clever children with a better chance of the mother knowing how to care for them. But some studies have shown the opposite with men looking for less intelligent partners. This latest study seems to support the latter view.

Which body shape do you prefer in the opposite sex?

Well it depends on how hungry you are, according to researchers at the University of Westminster.

stick_woman_gymnastics_1600_wht_12994Hungry men have a preference for the fuller figure, especially women with large busts, compared with men who have just eaten.

stick_figure_flexing_1600_wht_2005Previous research showed that women prefer heavier, more muscular, men when they are hungry and less muscular men once they’ve eaten.

So women with slimmer figures or less muscular men should probably only meet their dates after they’ve eaten!

The researcher said that our brains evolved to interpret body size as an indicator of food availability. “If you are hungry you want resources and a partner who has resources. Someone who is heavier has access to food”. Research in Malaysia found that men from lower economic classes preferred bigger-breasted women than those from wealthier backgrounds.

The Times newspaper which reported this suggested it might be why NigellaLawson is so popular with hungry men.


Men’s Preferences for Women are Strategic

couple_slow_dancing_music_500_wht_6965Men’s preferences for good-looking women depend on whether or not they are looking to have a fling or find a long-term partner.

It also depends on how they rate their own looks.

White males find more feminine faces prettier and this is exaggerated when men in a relationship are considering who to choose for a fling.

It is also true of men who considered themselves more attractive.

Psychologists at the University of Stirling carried out experiments with almost 400 heterosexual males to discover their preferences using facial images of women which had been altered to make them more or less feminine-looking.

It could be that male choosiness when considering a fling is about making the risk of being discovered worthwhile or that other factors such as fidelity and mothering skills come into play when looking for a life partner.

These results, published in The British Journal of Psychology, mirror the findings for women who prefer more masculine-looking men when looking for a short-term relationship.

Beauty’s only skin deep

How we look is important but to some people it’s everything.

In America 1 in 3 women think the way they look is more important for their self-esteem than intelligence or job performance.

Students said they would rather marry an embezzler, a shop lifter, or a drug smuggler than someone who was obese.

And 11% of them would abort a foetus if they knew it was  genetically disposed to obesity. It’s perhaps no surprise then that fat women are 20% less likely to get married than slimmer ones.

Now Deborah Rhode, the Director of Stanford University’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender, has published a book; “The Beauty Bias: The injustice of Appearance in Life and Law”. In it she asks such searching questions as why they spent more on Sarah Palin’s makeover and personal shopper than on a foreign policy advisor?

She discovered that good looking teachers are considered better educators and that attractive lawyers earned 12% more than their plainer colleagues despite being no more competent.

I’ve posted on this topic before, about tallness, attractiveness and earnings and about “erotic capital” and how (usually) women can exploit their looks. Taking a slightly different view Rhode refers to the “bloopsy” effect which is where beautiful women, especially those with big breasts, are considered dumb even if they have a PhD.  Attractive women have been known to be sacked for being too attractive.

But so have unattractive or ugly people and research shows that ugly criminals get longer sentences – one way to beautify the neighbourhood I suppose. Now it’s being suggested that you could be sued for calling people ugly or not attractive enough for a job. Don’t HR people and the diversity police have enough to do?

Updated 14 July 2010: Anyone who watched last year’s Channel 4 programme “The Ugly Face of Beauty” would have been horrified by the sight of operations that went wrong. Or of an England footballer’s relative wanting to have the UK’s biggest boobs (double J) plus an unnecessary liposuction on her size 8 body.

But the really scary part was that 50% of 16-21 year-olds say they would like plastic surgery. “Boob jobs” are the most popular in the UK at around £3,000 (but only £800 in Cuba) with many unscrupulous, not to say unqualified, clinics offering surgery as part of a holiday package. The following week’s programme promised: “tummy tucks” that end up looking like shark bites!

Originally posted by MikethePsych July 2010

Looking for Mr Perfect

If you thought the chick-lit era was over, with no more searching for Mr Right a la Bridget Jones or Sex in the City; or that WAGS were now irrelevant –  then you were right, but oh so wrong!

At least according to “Mr So-So has no chance with the SAS girls”  a piece  by Amy Turner in the  Sunday Times last year.

Because it seems that women might still want to meet the man of their dreams – Civitas think tank found that 70% of women aged 20 – 35 want to get married – but only if they found Mr Right.

In particular so-called SAS women: successful, attractive and single – say they are happy enjoying themselves. As one SAS women, described as having “endless legs and sparkling repartee” (sycophant-speak for skinny public school girl) said; “I’m fabulous and I want someone equally as fabulous to join my party”. Not much narcissistic self-referencing there then and hardly suggesting an equal partnership (see “Princess on board…”).

Not for them Lori Gottlieb’s advice in; “Marry him: the case for settling for good enough”. As my management consultant colleagues might say, SAS women are taking a “six sigma” rather than just a “fit for purpose” approach and as one of my guest bloggers pointed out recently; “Male modesty doesn’t pay”.

But why should women settle for less now that they are increasingly holding the purse strings? Experts in the USA think that by 2024 women will be earning more on average than men , particularly in Law, Medicine, and in academia. There are already more females than males graduating and higher education is the best predictor of future financial success. And the trend is pretty much the same in the UK with more females than males graduating in Law and Psychology for example.

In America five years ago only 1 in 4  women in dual-income households earned more than the men; now it is up to a third and if that trend continues more women in middle-income jobs like teaching and healthcare will overtake men. In America female graduates have flocked into cities such as New York and Dallas to find “gender-blind” jobs with the result that women in their 20s are now earning 20% more than their male counterparts.

A number of factors have influenced these trends: a sharp decline in the birth rate in cities where more women go to college, more men losing their jobs than women (women occupied more part-time jobs) in the recession (the “mancession”), and an increase in family-friendly – which usually means women-friendly – jobs.  And you could probably add to that the feminising of education.

Originally posted by MikethePsych in June 2010

The best looking people live in…

Best looking people live in... Sweden. According to a survey by Sunshine holidays reported in i newspaper of almost 1500 people in the UK who thought Sweden was the best looking nation (and I’m assuming they meant the people who lived there rather than the tourist attractions).

Anyway England came 6th, so at least we got in the top 10 by voting for ourselves (pity we can’t in the Eurovision song contest).

The full top 10 is: Sweden Brazil Italy Spain Australia … Read More

via Mike the Psych’s Blog with permission