Sex, Certainty, and Financial Risk: Why Bikinis Lead People to Want a Sure Thing

Bram Van den Bergh, K.U. Leuven, Belgium
Kobe Millet, K.U. Leuven, Belgium; Free University Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Vladas Griskevicius, University of Minnesota, USA
Recent research demonstrates that exposure to sexual cues leads to a heightened preference for smaller, immediate rewards over larger, delayed rewards. We propose a mechanism for this phenomenon. Consistent with the Somatic Marker Model, we hypothesize that exposure to sexual cues enhances risk aversion when there is a possibility of a sure gain. In three experiments, we show that mating motives lead to an increase in the desire for sure gains, and a decrease in desire for risky alternatives. The mating-related tendency to devalue temporally distant outcomes appears to be driven by mating cues motivating a desire for certain rewards.
[ to cite ]:
Bram Van den Bergh, Kobe Millet, and Vladas Griskevicius (2010) ,"Sex, Certainty, and Financial Risk: Why Bikinis Lead People to Want a Sure Thing", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 276-279 .