Lending credence to an old adage, psychology researchers in the Netherlands have published a study showing men were "cognitively impaired" simply by the thought of being watched by a member of the fairer sex.

The study tested both men and women, asking them to perform a so called "Stroop test" for cognitive function under varying circumstances. In a Stroop test, the subject is required to look at flash cards bearing the names of various colors printed in a non-corresponding color of ink. For instance, a flash card might have the word blue written on it using bright yellow ink. The test works by asking the subject to verbally identify the ink color and measuring both the accuracy of the responses and the time it takes to formulate them.

In two separate studies, the subjects performed the Stroop test twice: once while they believed they were alone, and a second time after being told someone of the opposite sex was watching them via webcam. In both cases the women's performance during the second test was unchanged, but for the men, the mere thought of being watched by a woman caused their performance to plummet.

So there it is. All of your social failures explained.

The researches hypothesize that the men's inability to do well at cognitive tasks under these circumstances could be the result of them being more naturally attuned to potential mating opportunities. Modern social pressures could be in play, too, with men crumbling under the expectation to impress the ladies in the room.

There was something else we were going to say at this point, but it seems to have slipped our minds. There aren't any women reading this, are there?

[Scientific American via Gizmodo]