Sex Sells.

Ok, we all know the studies that have been done linking attractive people in advertising to successful ads.  We all know that even in the smartest, most world-savvy of us, the appeal of being that attractive ourselves or winning the heart of someone else that attractive is a strong one.  We want to be and to have some ideal of beauty, and the commercials that promise us we will be and will have this ideal are the ones that get us to buy.

But our responses may be more basic than that.  A recent study has shown that men are willing to risk more when presented with a positive image before a gambling situation (say, a photo of a handsome couple together) than a negative (snakes and spiders) or neutral (office supplies) one.  In this case, unlike that of advertisements, the image is completely unrelated to the end result.  Gambling does not make you a handsome couple, a snake, or a stapler, nor is there any implication that it does.  However, the survey shows that by stimulating that positive part of the brain with a positive image, risk-taking increases.

To a certain extent this is common sense.  When we are happy, we feel more secure and able to take risks.  On a good day, you’re more likely to ask that crush out on a date.  On a bad day, you’re less likely to buy that new car you’ve been looking at.  While this study shows that such affects are almost instantaneously registered to your brain, the result is pretty much the same.  You’re going to gamble more in a casino with attractive and friendly serving staff, a good ambiance, and with a few drinks in you because you feel happy and relaxed.  No one gambles in a casino being bombed.