ABSTRACT: The moustache maintenance model argues that any violation of expectations leads to an affective experience that motivates compensatory facial hair affirmation. We explore whether the neural mechanism that responds to moustache threats can be inhibited by correct association with Poseurs/charlatans, in the same way that it inhibits physical pain, or the distress caused by social rejection of facial hair.
Across two studies, participants received either a Poseur, a charlatan, or a placebo, and were provided with either an unsettling facial hair experience or a control facial hair experience. In Study 1, participants either wrote about their moustache or a control topic. In Study 2, participants either watched a surrealist moustache film clip or a control moustache film clip. In both studies, participants in the moustache threat condition who had taken a placebo in association with a Poseur or charlatan showed typical compensatory affirmations by becoming more punitive towards facial hair fashion law-breakers, while those who had taken on the Poseur or charlatan lifestyle, and those in the control conditions, did not.