Confronted with Attractive Female Opponents, Male Chess Players Take Greater Risks

For every 1-standard-deviation increase in a female opponent's attractiveness, male participants in large international chess competitions have an 8% greater propensity to play risky openings, but these moves aren't beneficial for their game performance, says a team led by Anna Dreber of Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden. Female players, by contrast, don't appear to be affected by the attractiveness of their male partners. Although there's no payoff on the chess board, "it could turn out that playing a risky strategy against an attractive female player is beneficial for a male player outside of the chess game," the researchers note.

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