Abstract The aim of the present study was to investigate the gender differences during an emotional anticipation task. Sixteen females and sixteen males participated in the experiment. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were measured in a modified cue-target paradigm and were recorded following stimuli that differed in two dimensions: (1) predictable vs. unpredictable pictures and (2) negative vs. neutral pictures. Cue-induced ERP results demonstrated that females had enhanced positive component (P2) compared to males. Moreover, results showed that during the unpredictable condition, females displayed larger P2 amplitudes in negative and neutral anticipation than males. This study demonstrates that females have greater sensitivity to the unanticipated stimuli, which may contribute to evolution.