SAN ANTONIO, June 16 (UPI) -- Conspicuous consumption -- such as Porsches -- can serve the same function for some men as the brilliant feathers serve peacocks, U.S. researchers suggest.
Researchers at the University of Texas-San Antonio, Rice University and the University of Minnesota say men may flaunt flashy products to charm potential dates, but not all men -- just those men who were interested in short-term sexual relationships with women.
Lead author Jill Sundie, assistant professor of marketing at University of Texas-San Antonio, says a man's conspicuous consumption is driven by the desire to have uncommitted romantic flings, but while women may find flashy guys more desirable for a date, the man with the Porsche was not preferred as a marriage partner.
In the study involving 1,000 women, the researchers found women said a man who chose to purchase a flashy luxury product such as a Porsche was more desirable than the same man who purchased a non-luxury item such as a Honda Civic.
However, the study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the women inferred from a man's flashy spending that he was interested in uncommitted sex and not marriage.
"People may feel that owning flashy things makes them more attractive as a relationship partner, but in truth, many men might be sending women the wrong message," study co-author Daniel Beal, assistant professor of psychology at Rice University, says.