Effects of facial trustworthiness and gender on decision making in the Ultimatum Game

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Yujia Wu
Li Gao
Yan Wan
Fang Wang
Sihua Xu
Zijing Yang
Hengyi Rao
Yu Pan
Cite this article:  Wu, Y., Gao, L., Wan, Y., Wang, F., Xu, S., Yang, Z., Rao, H., & Pan, Y. (2018). Effects of facial trustworthiness and gender on decision making in the Ultimatum Game. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46(3), 499-516.


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As little is yet known about the influence of facial trustworthiness and gender on fairness consideration in decision making, we examined whether a proposer’s facial trustworthiness and gender would influence a responder’s willingness to accept the proposer’s monetary offer. Participants in our study were 79 Chinese undergraduate students (responders) who played the Ultimatum Game with 4 proposers (2 male and 2 female) with different facial trustworthiness. As predicted, responders were more willing to accept offers from trustworthy-looking proposers. We found that facial trustworthiness was a more salient cue when proposers were men than when they were women and, furthermore, that the students’ emotional response to faces was correlated with their fairness consideration. Considering the implicit influence of facial trustworthiness and gender on decision making, potentially there are broader implications of our findings for certain business activities, such as negotiation and bargaining.

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