Hot news anchors distract, prevent men from learning about news

Laura Donovan Contributor
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In the words of Antoine Dodson, “hide your wife,” at least if she happens to be a television anchor.

Miller-McCune reported Monday that television stations that hire hot female anchors may actually be short changing men on news coverage.

Many stations try to increase their following and gain male viewers by featuring attractive female news anchors, often having them dress in clothing that highlights their sexuality. While this technique boosts ratings, research suggests men don’t properly digest television news as a result.

Two Indiana University scholars report that the “emphasis on the sexual attractiveness of female news anchors distracts [male viewers] from memory formation for news content,” adding “men’s cognitive mechanisms favored visual over verbal processing.”

Researchers Maria Elizabeth Grabe and Lelia Samson came to this conclusion by inviting 400 participants to view two versions of a newscast, both of which included the same female anchor.

In the first version, the anchor wore “a tight-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt that accented her waist-to-hip ratio” and “bright red lipstick and a necklace.” For the second version, the anchor took a plainer approach by donning “a shapeless and loose-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt” sans lipstick or a necklace.

As many would expect, researchers reported that male viewers recalled “significantly more information watching the unsexualized anchor deliver news than her sexualized version.”

When the anchor had a desexualized appearance, men absorbed more of the presented content than women viewers. When the female anchor was dressed up, the men’s retention level dropped to the point where both participating genders retained the same amount of information.