Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our future discounting rate is phenotypically plastic

Scientific Blogging:
The results were fairly clear: men are indeed, as the title of the paper puts it, “inspired to discount the future” when presented with mildly arousing pictures of attractive women, but they were not so inclined when the women in the photos were not attractive. Women also showed a mild tendency to respond in the same way, but the difference between the two treatments was actually not statistically significant, meaning that it is clearly men who do most of the future discounting (or, in lay terms, are more likely to lose their minds in the presence of an attractive member of the opposite sex).

The results with the cars, however, were reversed: a “hot” car did not have any effect on the men’s propensity for future discounting, but it did influence women, whose discounting rate was much higher when a hot car was pictured in comparison to a boring looking one. Clearly, the old idea that a good way to attract women’s attention is to drive around in an attractive (and expensive) looking car does have scientific foundation…


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