August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
The "threat premium" in economic bargaining and who pays the price
Author Affiliations
  • Shawn Geniole
    Department of Psychology, Brock University
  • Elliott MacDonell
    Department of Psychology, Brock University
  • Cheryl McCormick
    Department of Psychology, Brock University
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 1401. doi:
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      Shawn Geniole, Elliott MacDonell, Cheryl McCormick; The "threat premium" in economic bargaining and who pays the price. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1401.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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What information do people use when deciding to be fair or exploitative in face-to-face bargaining interactions? We show that people extract information about threat potential from a stable cue in the stranger's face, the facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR), and dynamically adjust their bargaining behaviour based on this information. In a modified Ultimatum Game, participants (n = 100) gave larger offers to men (n = 48) with larger fWHRs (r = .46), an effect driven by the tendency to view such men as more aggressive than those with smaller fWHRs. This "threat premium" was most pronounced for male proposers who were physically weaker, and was at odds with, and suppressed, the tendency to pay attractive individuals more than unattractive individuals. Therefore, threat potential appears to guide economic interactions involving unrelated strangers, and this effect overrides any inclinations to favour those who are more attractive.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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