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What do we expect from a beauty? Facial attractiveness of the opposite sex gives rise to discrepancies in males' anticipation and demand


  • Guanxiong Pei and Liang Meng conceived the study, interpreted the data and prepared the manuscript. In addition, Guanxiong Pei contributed to data collection and analysis. We would like to thank Dr. Jia Jin and Ningbo University for facilitating data collection. This research was funded by grant No. 2014N092 from the Social Science Association of Zhejiang Province as an annual project and Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project (Key Project) of Zhejiang Province (No. 14NDJC011Z).


Facial attractiveness plays a significant role in social interactions and the effect of beauty premium is frequently observed. Previous studies showed that observing attractive counterparts would alleviate one's sense of unfairness. However, the mechanism underlying this phenomenon remained to be clarified. In this study, male participants were engaged in a modified Dictator game as recipients and their electroencephalograms were recorded. They were convinced that anonymous females who vary in facial attractiveness played as dictators. An outcome anticipation stage was implemented before proposed offers were presented and we focused on the cognitive process of subjective anticipation. A less negative Stimulus-preceding negativity was observed in the attractive face condition, suggesting that subjects paid less anticipatory attention toward proposed offers, and subjective expectation toward fair ones was weakened when beauties played as dictators. Thus, this study provides additional neural evidences for the beauty premium effect and suggests a reasonable explanation for this commonly reported phenomenon.