Researchers Threaten Guys’ Masculinity, Then Watch Them Compensate With Lies

Researchers Threaten Guys’ Masculinity, Then Watch Them Compensate With Lies

By Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times (TNS)

SEATTLE — Pity the male of the species.

It’s so easy to threaten his masculinity, then watch him try to compensate by simply lying about himself.

“Manning Up” is a recent research paper headed by Sapna Cheryan, a University of Washington associate professor in psychology.

It begins in a rather unusual manner for an academic study — by quoting from Johnny Cash’s 1969 hit, “A Boy Named Sue.” The one that goes, “Some gal would giggle and I’d get red … ”

Then the study catalogs the reactions from guys the researchers duped into feeling masculinity-impaired through phony results from grip and personality tests.

The sampling was a bunch of college undergrads recruited at a dorm in exchange for $3 gift cards.

The students:

Lie about their height. Lie about their number of sexual partners. Lie about how handy they are. Lie about their athleticism.

For example: The “non-threatened” undergrad group said in follow-up questions that they had had an average 1.76 sexual relationships in their lives.

The “threatened” ones said they had had an average 3.12 encounters. That’s a 77 percent increase.

The study was a bit more diplomatic, not using “lie” but “exaggerating.”

The study also concluded that guys who feel masculinity-impaired also distance themselves from what they perceive as girl stuff.

Go to a basketball game? Yes. Go to a body spa? No way.

Movie and popcorn, yes. Watching a dance ensemble? Ha.

Home Depot, yes. Banana Republic? Hmmm, no thanks.

“Guys don’t relate to going shopping for clothes,” says Cheryan.

And the study showed something else: how gullible we all can be, if a test looks scientific enough.

The undergrads, all from Stanford University, which is where Cheryan was when the research was done, fell for a couple phony tests, with phony results, that made them believe their masculinity was in question.

In one test, the 36 guys were told the strength of their grip would be measured.

They squeezed on something called a Jamar Handgrip Dynamometer, which had a meter attached, kind of like on a bike pump.

“We couldn’t even read it,” Cheryan says about the meter. It didn’t matter. It just had to look science-y.

Then the guys were shown phony results.

One group was told they scored right in the middle for a masculine score.

But another group was shown a bogus bell curve that placed their grip strength similar to that of a woman.

Let that sink in, 20-year-old male undergrad.

In the other test, guys were given multiple-choice questions to supposedly measure their “masculinity compared to those of other men.”

For example, they were asked whether they’d prefer to drive a Honda Civic, Ford Taurus, Toyota Camry or Volvo C70.

The questions were designed “so that no answer was obviously masculine,” according to the paper.

One group of guys was told they had scored 73, and that the median score for a guy was 72. These guys didn’t exaggerate later.

And then there was the other group, who were told they had scored … 26.

No, no, no, 26! What?

And so the lying began from the masculinity-threatened guys.

Cheryan points out that everyone knows their height — from a driver’s license or filling out various forms. The researchers had the actual height measurements for the subjects.

The threatened guys “exaggerated their height by three-quarters of an inch,” Cheryan said. Not so with the non-threatened guys.

By the way, government figures show the average American male in his 20s is 5 feet 9.4 inches tall. Six feet and over puts you in the top 20 percentile.

The threatened guys also exaggerated their handiness by 16 percent when asked questions such as, “How handy are you with tools?”

They also exaggerated their athleticism and their aggressiveness by some 25 percent.

But you women who log onto OK Cupid are familiar with all that.

Cheryan said she does feel a bit sorry for the male species.

As other researchers have put it about masculinity, she says, “Hard won, easily lost.”

Photo: He’s actually really strong. Can deadlift 100 pounds. Brian Auer/Flickr

National Free Clinics Show Face Of American Health Care For Poor

National Free Clinics Show Face Of American Health Care For Poor

By Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — Piamela Seyum, 29, of Seattle, is No. 450 of those who wait patiently through the early hours of a weekday at Seattle Center’s Northwest Rooms.

When free medical care is advertised for everything from a root canal to on-site prescription eyeglasses to mammograms, lines form.

She was taking advantage of a four-day event advertised as the state’s largest free health-services event. It was part of a national health care project called Remote Era Medical, started in Kentucky in 1985 that has sponsored hundreds of similar clinics around the country. Some 4,000 people were expected to attend the Seattle event.

If you want to see one of those working poor that get written up in news articles, here she is.

Seyum works as an office manager at a small health-care office. She has Obamacare, but it mostly doesn’t cover adult dental procedures.

Recently, she said, she had one bad tooth pulled.

“That was close to $500,” she says. The dentist said she needed two cavity-filled upper molars pulled, too. She asked if she could make payments over time.

“They said, “We don’t do that.’ I called a couple of other places. They said the same thing,” she says.

Now, though, she’s back home, molars pulled.

It was her boss, says Seyum, who gave her the day off and suggested she come to the rather cumbersomely named Seattle/King County Clinic with Remote Area Medical.

But name aside, what it offers is really quite astounding.

The entire KeyArena was made into a giant clinic.

The floor where the Seattle SuperSonics and the Rolling Stones once played held 67 dental stations. More than 500 medical professionals and others wanting to help out volunteered.

On loan is a $200,000 “CAD/CAM” machine, which stands for “computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing,” which can design and mill a dental crown on the spot.

John Merner, director of Seattle Center Productions, was among the staffers who saw a “60 Minutes” segment on a Kentucky nonprofit called Remote Area Medical.

Merner’s group is charged, he says, “with bringing community-minded or low-cost stuff to the community,” and this fit the bill.

Remote Area Medical was started in 1985 by Stan Brock, who in a previous life was featured lassoing and other stunts on Marlin Perkins’ TV series, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.”

The nonprofit says it has brought mobile clinics to 500 cities in the U.S., and another 240 or so to various parts of the world, serving a total of 545,000 people.

Merner contacted the nonprofit about a year ago, and things got going. As the Washington State Dental Association and University of Washington Medicine got on board, volunteers began signing up.

Heavily promoted was the word “free,” as was this: “No ID or proof of citizenship is required.”

And so the patients began to arrive.

There was Ryan Gunther, 42, a graphic designer who said “business is up and down.” He hasn’t been to a dentist in 15 years or more.

He could feel a wisdom tooth crumbling, he says, “As it broke and broke again.”

He got the tooth extracted, plus a full teeth cleaning.

There is Reyna Rosales, 33, who could feel the hole in a molar with her tongue. She got it filled.

Rosales is raising three kids, and her boyfriend lays tile. In recent years, she says, she’s suffered, “What is it called? Aneurysm.”

Most of those seeking help come for either dental work or eye problems, says a spokesman for Remote Area Medical, because health insurance often doesn’t cover those procedures and, unlike with a medical problem, you can’t walk into a hospital emergency room to have your eyes checked.

Among the other patients, there was Innocente Pedrolini, 51, who cooks hot dogs at CenturyLink Field events.

“Sometimes I work five or seven days a week; sometimes I’m off five or seven days,” he says. “I can’t afford to go to a dentist.”

Pedrolini had two cavities filled and got a flu shot.

Seyum was resting up from the two molar extractions.

She says she talked to her sister about the free event.

“My sister said, “You know, in Denmark, all the medical stuff is free,'” Seyum said.

Yes, well, Denmark. That’s a long ways from here.

Photo via Ellen M. Banner/Seattle Times/MCT

Want more national and political news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!