Men who social network with women could be affecting their brain power. New research on male-female interaction suggests that when men are talking to women, their brains spend much of their effort on trying to impress, which reduces their ability to think clearly. If you are using social networks to help promote your business, you may not be thinking as straight as you want..!
Psychologists at Radboud University in The Netherlands found that when people of the same gender interacted their cognitive performance was not affected. However, when the group consisted of mixed genders, there was a reduction in cognitive capabilities in men. Women were not affected when they were in mixed gender groups, though. It seems they are able to think more clearly when men are around than men are able to do when women are present.
Although this research wasn’t conducted online, it has some important implications. For instance, one of the research findings in this study was that men were more impaired in their ability to remember things if they rated women they encountered in the experiment as attractive. Online in social networks this means that men could easily be distracted by pictures of attractive women in profiles, for instance.
Equally, online men may be more likely to respond with messages designed to impress and attract women engaged in the conversation, rather than contribute anything of real substance.
This research actually only really confirms earlier studies which show that men have a tendency to behave in ways designed to find a mate. However, the brain processing power that is needed to do this appears to reduce the functional ability of men, making them less able to recall things accurately, the new study shows.
But, it also confirms one other thing; women just get on with things and “be themselves” which appears to prevent any reduction in brain abilities. And one thing we know about online social networking is that no matter what gender you are, you want the other people you meet online to “be themselves”. Fake identities, people pretending to be something they are not – well, they are given short shrift online.
It means that whether you use Facebook or Twitter, people want you to be genuine. And, if you are a bloke and you “be yourself” rather than trying to impress, guess what, your brain function will improve, you’ll remember more and you will be doing what women have been doing so well for centuries – thinking straight.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+