Ladies Good Looks Lead to High Ratings & Low Recall
Men watching a news broadcast are more likely to pay attention if a sexy anchor is delivering the day's stories. Just what they're captivated by, however, is another matter entirely.
According to a new study from researchers at Indiana University, male viewers snap to attention at the sight of a female anchor they find attractive, but are distracted by her looks and therefore less likely to remember what she had to say.
The study, published online in the journal Communication Research asked hundreds of men to watch the same 24-year-old anchor deliver a broadcast twice -- once dressed in modest attire and another time in something more revealing, complete with jewelry, makeup and cleavage.
The results show that men were more likely to closely watch the sexy anchors but less likely to remember what they said. So networks that hire attractive news anchors may get higher ratings but have less-informed male viewers as a result.
And it may be hard for those good-looking reporters to be taken seriously, as well. The experiment found that men were less likely to find the alluring anchor credible when she reported on hard news topics like war or politics.
The findings are likely to add fuel to charges of gender and age discrimination in broadcast journalism, where women anchors are increasingly suing their networks for firing them when they hit 40 because they are no longer perceived as attractive.
By way of analysis -If a network is only interested in high ratings, then attractive female anchors are great, But if the goal is to inform people, then hiring -- or firing -- an anchor because of her apparent sexiness is counterproductive.
Interestingly, women are also more attentive when they see a good-looking anchor on TV -- except, unlike males, they seem to remember more about what the reporter says, not less.