Robert Burriss in Psychology Today:
The femme fatale is a stock character of classic film noir and hard-boiled detective stories: the seductive, fast-talking dame who lures a man into a trap of his own making. By the end of the tale, the man usually finds himself guilty of some hitherto undreamed-of crime, and wondering how he was ever convinced to err from the path of moral rectitude.
This is all well and good as far as fiction goes, but does the femme fatale hold as much sway in the real world? Can a good guy be turned bad by a sexy dame?
This is a question that occurred to Wen-Bin Chiou, a psychologist at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan. To find out, Chiou brought 74 heterosexual men to the laboratory. The volunteers were first shown photographs of women, which they had to rate for sex appeal. Half of the volunteers, selected at random, saw women who had previously been rated as sexy; the other half of the volunteers saw women who rated low for sexiness.
Afterwards, the men took part in what they were led to believe was an unrelated task.