Neuroscientific studies demonstrate that erotic stimuli activate the reward circuitry processing monetary and drug rewards. Theoretically, a general reward system may give rise to nonspecific effects: exposure to “hot stimuli” from one domain may thus affect decisions in a different domain. We show that exposure to sexy cues leads to more impatience in intertemporal choice between monetary rewards. Highlighting the role of a general reward circuitry, we demonstrate that individuals with a sensitive reward system are more susceptible to the effect of sex cues, that the effect generalizes to nonmonetary rewards, and that satiation attenuates the effect.
Van den Bergh, B., Dewitte, S., &Warlop, L. (2008). Bikinis instigate generalized impatience in intertemporal choice.Journal of Consumer Research, 35(1), 85-97.