Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sexy spending

In the research paper “Peacock, Porches and Thorstein Veblen, Conspicuous consumption as a sexual signaling system, researchers (Jill M. Sundie, Douglas T. Kenrick, Vladas Griskevicius, Kathleen D. Vohs, and Joshua M. Tybur) have examined the link between spending and mating strategy. Conspicuous consumption is a form of economic behavior in which self-presentational concerns override desires to obtain goods at bargain prices. Showy spending may be a social signal directed at potential mates. Researchers investigated such signals by examining which individuals send them, which context triggers them and how observers interpret them. Three experiments demonstrated that conspicuous consumption is driven by men who are following a lower-investment mating strategy, and is triggered specifically by short –term mating motives. A fourth experiment showed that observers interpret such signals accurately, with women perceiving men who conspicuously consume interesting in short-term mating. Furthermore, conspicuous purchasing enhanced men´s desirability as a short-term (but not as a long-term mate) mate. Overall, these findings suggest that flaunting status-linked goods to potential mates is not simply about displaying economic resources. Instead conspicuous consumption appears to be a part of a more precise signaling system focused on short-term mating. Read the full 56 page research paper here.

More on spending or projected spending capability and sexual attraction in The Science of Sex Appeal in the YouTubeclip here, where attractiveness depends on income rather than lookso