An ERP Study on Decisions between Attractive Females and Money

To investigate the neural processes of decision-makings between attractive females and money, we recorded 18 male participants' brain event-related potentials (ERPs) when they performed a novel task of deciding between viewing an attractive female's fuzzy picture in clear and gaining a certain amount of money. Two types of attractive females were included: sexy females and beautiful females. Several new electrophysiological discoveries were obtained as following.

  • First, the beautiful females vs. money task (task B) elicited a larger positive ERP deflection (P2) than the sexy females vs. money task (task S) between 290 and 340 ms, and this probably related to the perception matching process between a visual input and an internal representation or expectation.
  • Second, task S evoked greater negative ERP waves (N2) than task B during the time window of 340-390 ms, and this might relate to response conflict and cognitive monitoring for impulsive tendency.
  • Third, the ERP positivity in task S was larger than task B in the time interval of 550-1000 ms, reflecting that sexy female images may have higher decision value for males than beautiful female images.
  • Fourth, compared with choosing to gain money, choosing to view an attractive female evoked a larger late positive component (LPC) during the same time window, possibly because attractive females are more direct and evolutionarily earlier rewards for males than money amounts.