Economist article entitled: “Sex, shopping and thinking pink” reports alleged biologically based talent for shopping and preference for pink within “female brains.” Nope, I’m not buying it either.

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I plan to obtain the actual data supposedly supporting what strikes me as completely preposterous conclusions in this article (chock full of evo-psych phrases like “the primordial bargain of human hunter-gatherer societies”), so that I can get a second opinion from scientists I respect. Meanwhile, if you can stomach reading an article in The Economist that starts out with these two sentences:

WOMEN really are better than men at shopping. And they really do prefer pink.

Have at it here. Below is one short but annoying excerpt:

… On average, women were 9 ° more accurate than men at pointing to each stall:a significant deviation if you have to walk some distance to get to a place. This was not because those women had more experience of visiting the market than the men had. Nor did the women rate themselves as having a better sense of direction:indeed the men rated their own navigating skills more highly.

Dr New suggests that these results show women are better than men at the particular task of relocating sources of food. That contrasts with the idea that men are better at navigation in general. In other words, women’s minds are specialised for their ancestral task of gathering the sort of food that cannot run away. …

Alarmingly, my refrigerator is constantly “running,” yet neither I nor anyone I live with has gone hungry in consequence.

–Ann Bartow

Update: Echidne of the Snakes unpacks the “women prefer pink” study here.

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0 Responses to Economist article entitled: “Sex, shopping and thinking pink” reports alleged biologically based talent for shopping and preference for pink within “female brains.” Nope, I’m not buying it either.

  1. Eric says:

    What a load of bollocks. The color pink was, until about the late 19th or early 20th century, considered to be “masculine”, at least in England. One vestige of that tradition is my all-time favorite shirt: the Brooks Brothers pink oxford.

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  3. heerter says:

    I was very pissed when this came out. I don’t know about the shopping “study”, but the “women prefer pink” one came out last week. It was all over yahoo news, which is a far more appropriate venue for wrong-science results than scientific american, where i found it next. Apparently they just took groups of British and Chinese nationals and asked them which colors they prefer along a continuum. You can read it here:
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=850544AF-E7F2-99DF-3116AD8195470090&sc=I100322
    Anyway they found the red-spectrum colors were much more preferred by men in china because in china, red is the color of luck as i understand it (red national flag, etc). So within the study they admitted that cultural concerns have a vast impact on these “natural”, “evolutionarily-determined” preferences, and just decided to go with a predetermined, biased conclusion anyway and ignore any possible cultural predilections such as the one they unmasked with unrelenting rigor. To cut this short, this was a clinical scientific study that gathered evidence from the British and Chinese populations, found that the British population catered to their preexisting biased ideas, and wrote off half the data. To be fair to them, they do promise to study infants in the next iteration of their research, which has a greater potential to yield results more in line with what they are actually looking to find out. Though it might be harder to find a large sample of babies whose parents have never spoiled the research by giving them a blue or pink thing to identify with.

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