Gender stereotypes and Dolores Labs

Are you attractive?

Why of course you are. I have often admired your fine good looks. And as a reader of this blog, you possess a keen intelligence and a quick wit. Good for you!

A slightly more interesting question is this. Where are you now, relative to your lifetime peak attractiveness? Or your lifetime peak intelligence? Dolores Labs can help.

Dolores Labs is a wonderful outfit that takes crowdsourcing very seriously. They have a core competence in driving Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to do some rather interesting research. Some of it is what you might expect: make the Turkers do dreary legwork, like determining the race of everybody who’s appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated since 1954.

But the more interesting stuff they do is more like a giant psychology experiment on the Turkers themselves. Andy Baio did something like this recently, asking Turkers, Why do you turk?. It’s a humanizing answer to the question “who ARE these Mechanical Turk people anyway?”

Dolores Labs did the following. They said here are 100,000 photos of people you’ve never seen. Just tell us, are they attractive? Are they trustworthy? Are they intelligent? Averaged across millions of judgments, when do women experience peak attractiveness? The answer appears to be 24. Aha! I knew it! And anybody who buys car insurance for their son will not be surprised that a man’s trustworthiness trough is 18 or 19. And may we posit an inverse relationship between male intelligence and sexual distraction? What should we make of the W-shaped curve of perceived female intelligence? Is there a correlation between intelligence and trustworthiness? Read the article. It’s all there.

PS: Don’t miss the crowdsourced naughty bits.