Sunday, June 18, 2017

Lipstick Therapy

Here’s a question that you might not have asked yourself. Then again, if you are a woman and want to improve your academic performance, you might very well have asked yourself what it takes to gain an edge on your next test.

Now, serious researchers, who apparently had run out of subjects, have studied the effect that cosmetics have on a woman’s academic performance. To my knowledge they have not studied the effects that cosmetics might have on men’s academic performance.

The next is: a woman who wears makeup to her exam will score much higher than did those women who did not. One notes that when a woman is taking a test, she will assume that the other test takers will not be focusing on her appearance. 

Women have long known how that extra flick of eyeliner or dash of lipstick can boost their confidence.

And now, it seems, it’s also more likely to help them pass exams.

Research shows that women who put on make-up before taking a test achieved ten to 20 per cent higher marks than those who did not wear any.

Psychologists say the result could be down to the ‘lipstick effect’, whereby using make-up boosts self-esteem and has a knock-on effect on memory, confidence and mental ability.
Naturally, you are normally skeptical about the stories you read in the Daily Mail. I understand. And yet, this report comes to us from the Harvard Medical School and from an Italian University, so it can’t be all wrong:

The researchers, from Harvard Medical School and Chieti University in Italy, said: ‘Women may use make-up to increase self-esteem by boosting their attractiveness; this makes them feel better during stress. Positive emotions increase information accessible in memory.’

A woman who is feeling stressed should put on some lipstick or maybe even a little eye liner. It will boost self-esteem, produce more positive emotion and allow her memory and rational faculties to function more effectively. 

Who knew?


trigger warning said...

Well, it may work for men, too. What Evergreen professor, or Berkeley adjunct, would dare give a B or below to a guy wearing lipstick and eyeliner? The extant Safe Spaces would burst at the seams. (Assuming they still give Bs and below, of course.)

It's ironic that Harvard was involved in the study, since the median GPA for Harvard undergraduates is 3.67/4.00. The makeup counters in Cambridge must be a land office business.

James said...

I can hear the ringing mottoes now!
"This Mascara Doesn't Run!" "Make Maybelline Great Again!".

Webutante said...

This study is so right on Stuart. I wouldn't go anywhere without a touch of eye liner and lipstick otherwise I would feel undressed.....It gets more doors opened at the early morning post office run. And I won't even begin to tell you how helpful the men are with my trash bags at the county drop offs.
It also helps to wear a smile.

Great post!

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Wow... what amazing scientific insight. Good grooming makes one feel better about themselves. Astounding.

What's next? Drinking more water prevents dehydration?

As for the Daily Mail, I will point out that their reportage has been superior to America's finest newspapers for the last two years.

TW is spot on. I'm sure transgendered men masquerading as women would get a boost with some Dial-a-Lash.

Ares Olympus said...

Who needs science when you have superstition?

Or better yet, let's use science to study our irrationality! This certainly needs more study.

Next we need to discover what colors work best. I bet it's not black, but these things need to be clarified. Then we can do double-blind tests where the subject and experimenters can't see what color has been applied, and see if the patterns hold.

Perhaps we'll find women who are wearing black lipstick, but think it is bright red lipstick score the highest of them all.

Or what if the quality of application matters? If the colors are right, but it's a sloppy job, will that lower scores?

I wonder if lipstick raises the scores of women, or lowers the scores of their clear-lipped competition? If so that suggests intimidation if a factor. Or does the effect remains even if tests are done in private rooms?

I do recall the middle distance runner Shannon Rowbury wearing bright lipstick at big events for the last few years. Other women runners spike and dye their hair bright colors to intimidate the competition. It does make more sense that physical competitions benefit by good showmanship.

p.s. I see there's another lipstick effect, from economics, but a similar idea perhaps, using visible status to raise self-esteem.

Ares Olympus said...

Oh, here's Shannon's explanation for the bright racing lipstick:
Rowbury applied the makeup—for the record, it's NYX Matte "Shocking Pink"—in homage to her grandmother, who passed away in February 2011. Rowbury was also inspired by her grandmother's generation who got dolled up for important events.

"Races are pretty special occasions—I only race maybe 20 times a year—so I might as well get dressed up for them," Rowbury said. "When you decide to put a hot pink lipstick on, you better bring your A game."