Advertisement

Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 12, pp 3159–3168 | Cite as

Rational civil servant interviewers: evidence from an event-related potential study of beauty premiums in Chinese civil servant interviews

  • Bonai Fan
  • Menglin Zhao
  • Jia JinEmail author
  • Hao Ding
  • Qingguo Ma
Research Article
  • 78 Downloads

Abstract

Physical attractiveness can greatly influence business job applications (the “beauty premium” effect). However, little is known about whether and how physical attractiveness influences interviewers’ evaluations of Chinese civil servant applicants, given that many characteristics of civil service appear to be different from those of business jobs. Using event-related potentials (ERPs), the current study investigated how female job candidates’ physical attractiveness influenced interviewers’ evaluations in Chinese civil servant interviews for both technical and managerial positions. The behavioral results showed that for the managerial positions, attractive female candidates had a much higher acceptance rate than unattractive candidates. However, for the technical positions, no significant difference was found between attractive and unattractive candidates. At the brain level, for the managerial positions, pairs of attractive faces with managerial posts elicited smaller N400 and larger late positive potential (LPP) amplitudes than did pairs of unattractive faces with managerial posts. However, this relationship was not observed for technical posts. The negative correlation between N400 amplitude and acceptance rate as well as the positive correlation between LPP amplitude and acceptance rate further confirmed these results. The present study suggests that beauty could potentially influence if candidates are accepted in real Chinese civil servant interviews, as observed experimentally in this research.

Keywords

Beauty premium N400 LPP Event-related potentials Civil servant interview 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant numbers 71673239 and 71603139], and the K.C. Wong Magna Fund at Ningbo University.

References

  1. Bamford S, Broyd SJ, Benikos N, Ward R, Wiersema JR, Sonuga-Barke E (2015) The late positive potential: a neural marker of the regulation of emotion-based approach-avoidance actions? Biol Psychol 105:115–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonilla R, Kiraly F, Wildman J (2015) Beauty premium and marriage premium in search equilibrium: theory and empirical test. Social Science Electronic Publishing, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen M, Ma Q, Li M, Lai H, Wang X, Shu L (2010) Cognitive and emotional conflicts of counter-conformity choice in purchasing books online: an event-related potentials study. Biol Psychol 85:437–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Codispoti M, Ferrari V, Bradley MM (2007) Repetition and event-related potentials: distinguishing early and late processes in affective picture perception. J Cogn Neurosci 19:577–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cuthbert BN, Schupp HT, Bradley MM, Birbaumer N, Lang PJ (2000) Brain potentials in affective picture processing: covariation with autonomic arousal and affective report. Biol Psychol 52:95–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dennis TA, Hajcak G (2009) The late positive potential: a neurophysiological marker for emotion regulation in children. J Child Psychol Psychiatry Allied Discip 50:1373–1383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dion K, Berscheid E, Walster E (1972) What is beautiful is good. J Pers Soc Psychol 24:285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dreber A, Gerdes C, Gränsmark P (2013) Beauty queens and battling knights: Risk taking and attractiveness in chess. J Econ Behav Organ 90:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gonzalez L, Loureiro YK (2014) When can a photo increase credit? The impact of lender and borrower profiles on online peer-to-peer loans. Soc Sci Electron Publ 2:44–58Google Scholar
  10. Greenhouse SW, Geisser S (1959) On methods in the analysis of profile data. Psychometrika 24:95–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hajcak G, MacNamara A, Olvet DM (2010) Event-related potentials, emotion, and emotion regulation: an integrative review. Dev Neuropsychol 35:129–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hamermesh DS, Biddle JE (1993) Beauty and the Labor Market. Am Econ Rev 84:1174–1194Google Scholar
  13. Hamm JP, Johnson BW, Kirk IJ (2002) Comparison of the N300 and N400 ERPs to picture stimuli in congruent and incongruent contexts. Clin Neurophysiol 113:1339–1350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hehman E, Volpert HI, Simons RF (2014) The N400 as an index of racial stereotype accessibility. Soc Cognit Affect Neurosci 9:544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hilgard J, Weinberg A, Hajcak PG, Bartholow BD (2014) The negativity bias in affective picture processing depends on top-down and bottom-up motivational significance. Emotion 14:940–949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huang Y, Kendrick KM, Yu R (2014) Social conflicts elicit an N400-like component. Neuropsychologia 65:211–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ito TA, Larsen JT, Smith NK, Cacioppo JT (1998) Negative information weighs more heavily on the brain: the negativity bias in evaluative categorizations. J Pers Soc Psycholo 75:887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jia J, Fan B, Dai S, Ma Q (2017) Beauty premium: Event-related potentials evidence of how physical attractiveness matters in online peer-to-peer lending. Neurosci Lett 640:130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jin J, Pei G, Ma Q (2017) They are what you hear in media reports: the racial stereotypes toward Uyghurs activated by media. Front Neurosci 11:675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kantor J, Shapir OM, Shtudiner ZE (2015) Beauty is in the eye of the employer: labor market discrimination of accountants. Social Science Electronic Publishing, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Kantowitz BH, Roediger HL, Elmes DG (2005) Experimental psychology: understanding psychology research. Wadsworth Thomson Learning, Connecticut StamfordGoogle Scholar
  22. Khateb A, Pegna AJ, Landis T, Mouthon MS, Annoni JM (2010) On the origin of the N400 effects: an ERP waveform and source localization analysis in three matching tasks. Brain Topogr 23:311–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kutas M, Hillyard SA (1980) Reading senseless sentences: brain potentials reflect semantic incongruity. Science 207:203–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kutas M, Hillyard SA (1984) Brain potentials during reading reflect word expectancy and semantic association. Nature 307:161–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kutas M, Iragui V (1998) The N400 in a semantic categorization task across 6 decades. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 108:456–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ma Q, Hu Y, Jiang S, Meng L (2015) The undermining effect of facial attractiveness on brain responses to fairness in the ultimatum game: an ERP study. Front Neurosci 9:77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Münte TF, Heinze HJ, Matzke M, Wieringa BM, Johannes S (1998) Brain potentials and syntactic violations revisited: no evidence for specificity of the syntactic positive shift. Neuropsychologia 36:217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pfann GA, Biddle JE, Hamermesh DS, Bosman CM (2000) Business success and businesses’ beauty capital. Econ Lett 67:201–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Picton TW, Bentin S, Berg P, Donchin E, Hillyard SA (2000) Guidelines for using human event-related potentials to study cognition: Recording standards and publication criteria. Psychophysiology 37:127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rasmussen A (2007) Electrophysiology of stereotypes: N400 as a measure of the beautiful is good stereotype. Institutionen för Psykologi, Lunds Universitet, Lund, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  31. Rosenblat TS (2008) The beauty premium: physical attractiveness and gender in dictator games. Negot J 24:465–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rugg MD (1985) The effects of semantic priming and word repetition on event-related potentials. Psychophysiology 22:642–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schupp HT, Cuthbert BN, Bradley MM, Cacioppo JT, Ito T, Lang PJ (2000) Affective picture processing: the late positive potential is modulated by motivational relevance. Psychophysiology 37:257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schupp HT, Flaisch T, Stockburger J, Junghöfer M (2006) Emotion and attention: event-related brain potential studies. Prog Brain Res 156:31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Semlitsch HV, Anderer P, Schuster P, Presslich O (1986) A solution for reliable and valid reduction of ocular artifacts, applied to the P300 ERP. Psychophysiology 23:695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Shahani C, Dipboye RL, Gehrlein TM (1993) Attractiveness Bias in the interview: exploring the boundaries of an effect. Basic Appl Soc Psychol 14:317–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Solnick SJ, Schweitzer ME (1999) The influence of physical attractiveness and gender on ultimatum game decisions. Org Behav Human Decis Process 79:199–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sprecher S (1989) The importance to males and females of physical attractiveness, earning potential, and expressiveness in initial attraction. Sex Roles 21:591–607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sutter M, Bosman R, Kocher MG, Winden FV (2009) Gender pairing and bargaining—beware the same sex! Exp Econ 12:318–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tews MJ, Stafford K, Zhu J (2009) Beauty Revisited: The impact of attractiveness, ability, and personality in the assessment of employment suitability. Int J Sel Assess 17:92–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Von Baeyer CL, Sherk DL, Zanna MP (1981) Impression management in the job interview: When the female applicant meets the male (chauvinist) interviewer. Pers Social Psychol Bull 7:45–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. White KR, Crites SL, Taylor JH, Corral G (2009) Wait, what? Assessing stereotype incongruities using the N400 ERP component. Soc Cognit Affect Neurosci 4:191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wilson RK, Eckel CC (2006) Judging a book by its cover: beauty and expectations in the trust game. Polit Res Q 59:189–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zhang Y, Xu B, Zhang J (2015) Impact of procedural characteristics on justice perceptions of Chinese civil service candidates. Public Pers Manag 44:75Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bonai Fan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Menglin Zhao
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jia Jin
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Hao Ding
    • 2
    • 3
  • Qingguo Ma
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Public AffairsZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Business SchoolNingbo UniversityNingboChina
  3. 3.Academy of Neuroeconomics and NeuromanagementNingbo UniversityNingboChina

Personalised recommendations