Rondi (Begin Each Day As If It Were On Purpose) recently linked a story about a study which concluded that males become temporally more stupid in the presence of blondes.
The question I have is whether this is predominantly an innate (evolved) reflex or a subconscious reflex that is based more on cultural upbringing.
When thinking of the innate instincts that are apparent in the animal kingdom, like how apes treat babies for example, I tend to believe it is mostly an evolved phenomenon.
From the article, idea of a dumb blonde is recent. This may or may not influence how males react in the presence of blondes. We would have to know how males reacted to blondes prior to the 18th Century.
I'm sure, that just like most everything, it is a mix of nature and nurture. More examples when it comes to humans:
'The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, is not the first to suggest that human behaviour is strongly influenced by stereotypes, according to the Daily Telegraph in London.
Scientists have found people walk and talk more slowly in front of the elderly while other studies revealed female leaders were evaluated more harshly than male ones.'
What I found most interesting when doing further research for this post is that blondiness is a very recent phenomenon:
...blond hair originated in the region because of food shortages 10,000-11,000 years ago. Until then, humans had the dark brown hair and dark eyes that still dominate in the rest of the world. Almost the only sustenance in northern Europe came from roaming herds of mammoths, reindeer, bison and horses. Finding them required long, arduous hunting trips in which numerous males died, leading to a high ratio of surviving women to men.
Lighter hair colours, which started as rare mutations, became popular for breeding and numbers increased dramatically, according to the research, published under the aegis of the University of St Andrews.
“Human hair and eye colour are unusually diverse in northern and eastern Europe (and their) origin over a short span of evolutionary time indicates some kind of selection,” says the study by Peter Frost, a Canadian anthropologist. Frost adds that the high death rate among male hunters “increased the pressures of sexual selection on early European women, one possible outcome being an unusual complex of colour traits...”
Kind of like with birds, humans may in fact be attracted to brighter colours. Brighter hair colours could be responsible for an innate belief that the woman is more fertile (blonde hair may be an indicator for high estrogen levels in women), or at least we innately believe they like to do it more:)
Eventually through more and more breeding this becomes an evolutionary characteristic that could be true today. Maybe blonde women attracted dumber males to begin with. Perhaps, blondes are slightly dumber today because of it. Do we have an IQ study that compares blond males with bald brown haired males like myself?
In todays world, really good looking girls in general are in such great demand that they don't need to be that bright to get by. And they can easily find a mate to procreate with. Down the road or maybe even what we see today, is good looking dumb kids.
But back to the findings, I think it is a pretty simple explanation why men get dumber in the presence of blondes. Man sees a blonde (our innate attraction to fertile women kicks in and/or our innate belief that blondes are dumber/easier kicks in), blood rushes from our default head (where our brain is located) to our primitive head (you know what I'm talkin bout Willis).
One more thing, I wonder what the evolutionary benefit becoming temporarily stupider has. Possibly, when it comes to procreating, it might be beneficial to drop our defenses a tad. It is a cost benefit thingy, where the act of mating is more important to species survival, than worrying if a predator is going to get you while you are having sex. Maybe someone should do a study to see if our IQs drop while we are doing the nasty. My first thought is of course it does, probably 30 points or so.
Obligatory Dumb Blonde Joke
Three blonde friends died together in a car wreck. They found themselves standing in front of the pearly gates with St. Peter. He told them that before they could enter heaven, they had to tell him what Easter was about.
The first blonde said, "Easter is a big holiday where we give thanks, have a big feast and eat turkey."
"Nooooo," said St. Peter. "You don't get in."
The second blonde said, "Easter is the holiday that we celebrate Jesus' being born of the virgin and give gifts to each other."
"Nooooo," said St. Peter. "You don't get in, either."
The third blonde said, "Well, I know what Easter is all about. Easter is a Christian holiday which coincides with the Jewish Passover. After Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples, He was betrayed by Judas and turned over to the Romans. They crucified Him on a cross. After He died, they buried him in a tomb and put a huge boulder in front of it."
"Very good!" said St. Peter.
The blonde continued. "Now, every year, the Jews roll the stone away and Jesus comes out. If He sees his shadow, we have 6 more weeks of basketball."