Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On single-sex school, bikinis and decision-making

Research says single-sex schools help children thrive.

It says boys, particularly, have trouble paying attention in class, and often ignore instructions and generate sloppy work. Among the reasons, the article concludes, are more female teachers (than male teachers), superior female student counterparts (girls read faster and control their emotions better), and unfit educational structure.

An alum of both types of schools myself, I fairly agree with the argument, but am not sure about the details - perhaps because the article refers to U.S. education. (Shoot! There was also literally no girl in most of my Mechanical Engineering classes.)

To me, the boys of single-sex schools can practically say "there is one less thing to worry or think about". Thus they can more freely express their feelings and actions.

Most of which are usually deemed unmannered.

What are other potential advantages? Well, they can benefit through better decision makings.


Well, there's this research that scientifically demonstrated that bikinis make man stupid, that sexy images rob male brain of ability to make wise decisions. The paper is formally titled "Bikinis Instigate Generalized Impatience in Intertemporal Choice".

How will this benefit the students? While there shouldn't be any bikinis at school, I'd say that you never know what's in young men's mind... or what they can imagine. For single-sex school students, at least this imagination part is eliminated or 'constrained'.

The experiments must be like torture to the 358 young men

Read this: "In one test, the men looked at images of women in bikinis or lingerie and at images of landscapes. In another, some men were given T-shirts to handle and assess while others were given bras. Another batch of men was assigned to watch a commercial featuring men running over landscapes while other guys watched a video of “hundreds of young women, dressed in bikinis running across hills, fields and beaches.” (No word on whether they used “Baywatch” slo-mo)."

How valid is this research? If concentrating itself is difficult, let alone making decisions, then the research must be quite valid.

Take an example from my friend, at his previous company.

One of his best technicians was fixing a pump when a female employee with sizeable yet well-proportioned boobs (that's how he explained to me) passed by. Without realizing it, the technician let his fingers cut (but did not require amputation) in the pump. Recordable accident.

In manufacturing environment (in any environment, in fact) it's a big deal. But you know what the technician said?

"It's OK. It's worth it."