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Research Shows Attractive Women Are Not Conductive to Quit Smoking
Photo: Professor Chiou Wen-Bin uses the classic “Stroop Task” to examine the temporal discount of male participants after mating mindset is induced.
Professor Chiou Wen-bin’s research found male smokers exposed to women were less likely to refrain from smoking.
Research is published by renowned Evolution and Human Behavior

Male smokers beware: looking at attractive women won’t help you quit smoking. In his latest study, Education professor Chiou Wen-Bin of National Sun Yat-sen University found that increased temporal discounting, which is the focus on instant, rather than delayed, gratification, can be more easily registered among male smokers who viewed photos of beautiful women, making them more likely to “discount the future and give in to the immediate impulse to smoke”. The fact that this research was published in a world-renowned journal, the first Taiwanese author to ever achieve such a feat, had caused quite an international media frenzy.

After reading an article in the Royal Society Journal in 2004 on temporal discounting, where it cited that men exhibited high discount rates viewing images of beautiful women as compared to average-looking women. The fact that the article did not examine “mating mindset” as an intermediary mechanism, pique his interest, explained Professor Chiou. Last year, he coordinated a research project between Professor Ying-Yao Cheng, Kaohsiung Medical University and himself. They modified the classic attention test “Stroop Task” with evolution psychology so as to further examine whether images of attractive women can induce a mating mindset among male smokers thus reduce control over cigarette smoking, and forget about the long term health benefits.

76 participants were randomly assigned into two groups, each to rate photographs of either highly attractive or less attractive women. They were all told that the images were part of a facial recognition research, so as to hide the real purpose of the study. Researchers then had the participants completing a set of tasks gauging nicotine’s impact on attention, where they were asked to say the font colors of the color words showed up on the computer monitor as fast as possible. Some of the terms were related to mating and some were neutral. In the event that images of beautiful women induced a “mating mindset” the participants would be interfered by the so-called “top-down process” when words related to mating appeared, and take longer to react. After that, the participants were led to a smoking room to complete a lengthy unrelated questionnaire. Researchers counted the cigarette butts in ashtrays and found that the group viewing attractive women photos had a higher percentage of smoking while filing out the questionnaire and smoked more compared to the group exposed to the less attractive women.

The group exposed to beautiful women took longer to respond to mating-related words, which supported the hypothesis that viewing attractive women images does trigger a mating mindset. Once this is induced, males reduced control over impulsive behaviors (i.e. stop smoking, quit drinking, weight loss, telling the truth, gambling, committing a crime, etc.), and gave in to the immediate gratification of these actions. Women, on the contrary, give priority to investment in parenting and parenting resources in terms of mating strategy.

In addition to being published in Evolution and Human Behavior; 2012 IF = 3.946, SOCIAL SCIENCES, BIOMEDICAL: Rank 1/36, Professor Chiou’s research results were also featured in Elsevier ‘s January 2015 Research Newsletter — one of the largest academic publishers, as well as other western newspapers including the Times, the Daily Mail, and India’s the Pioneer. America’s Pacific Standards suggested at the end of its report that “for people trying to stop smoking, it is very useful to know what your potential triggers are, so you can avoid them when possible. So if you are a guy trying to part with your Pall Malls, put away that Playboy. It will just make things worse.”

Professor Chiou explained the reason why many of his papers were published by heavyweight international journals such as Psychological Science, Addiction, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Journal of Environmental Psychology as because he imparts an innovative perspective and tooling model to explore and explain human behaviors important to daily routines. Going forward, future topics following this research will include the analgesic effect beautiful women have on men.
Publish date : 2015-03-30
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