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Sex and the money – How gender stereotypes modulate economic decision-making: An ERP study

Abstract : In the present event-related potential study, we investigated whether and how participants playing the ultimatum game as responders modulate their decisions according to the proposers’ stereotypical identity. The proposers’ identity was manipulated using occupational role nouns stereotypically marked with gender (e.g., Teacher; Engineer), paired with either feminine or masculine proper names (e.g., Anna; David). Greater FRN amplitudes reflected the early processing of the conflict between the strategic rule (i.e., earning as much money as possible) and ready-to-go responses (i.e., refusing unequal offers and discriminating proposers according to their stereotype). Responders were found to rely on a dual-process system (i.e., automatic and heuristic-based system 1 vs. cognitively costly and deliberative system 2), the P300 amplitude reflecting the switch from a decision making system to another. Greater P300 amplitudes were found in response to both fair and unfair offers and male-stereotyped proposers’ offers reflecting an automatic decision making based on heuristics, while lower P300 amplitudes were found in response to 3€ offers and the female-stereotyped proposers’ offers reflecting a more deliberative reasoning. Overall, the results indicate that participants were more motivated to engage in a costly deliberative reasoning associated with an increase in acceptation rate when playing with female-stereotyped proposers, who may have induced more positive and emphatic feelings in the participants than did male stereotyped proposers. Then, we assume that people with an occupation stereotypically marked with female gender and engaged in an economic negotiation may benefit from their occupation at least in the case their counterparts lose their money if the negotiation fails.
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Eve F. Fabre, Mickael Causse, Francesca Pesciarelli, Cristina Cacciari. Sex and the money – How gender stereotypes modulate economic decision-making: An ERP study. Neuropsychologia, Elsevier, 2015, vol. 75, pp. 221-232. ⟨10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.06.013⟩. ⟨hal-01503693⟩

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