Men with flashy cars are seen by others as being more interested in short-term sexual relationships, new research finds.
Indeed, women interested in a short-term relationship also found men with flashy cars more attractive.
However, people did not think a man with a flashy car would make a good life partner.
Instead, those looking long-term preferred someone with more sensible taste — presumably so he’s got money left over for the family.
Dr Daniel Kruger, study co-author, said:
“Participants demonstrated an intuitive understanding that men investing in the display of goods featuring exaggerated sensory properties have reproductive strategies with higher mating effort and greater interest in short-term sexual relationships, as well as lower paternal investment and interest in long-term committed romantic relationships than men investing in practical considerations.”
For the study, both men and women read descriptions of two men purchasing a new car.
The authors explain:
“One man purchased a new car for the sake of reliability (frugal investment); the other purchased a used car and allocated the remaining funds to conspicuous display features (new paint, larger wheels, louder sound system).”
And the results:
“Participants rated the man who invested in flashy display higher on mating effort, lower on parental investment, higher on interest in brief sexual affairs, lower on interest in long-term committed romantic relationships, higher in attractiveness to women for brief sexual affairs, and lower in attractiveness to women for long-term committed romantic relationships, compared to the man with a frugal investment strategy.”
Generally, men prefer to show off their money more than women.
However, showing off your spending power is not always the best policy.
Sometimes it is better to show off your prudence — depending on the signal you want to send.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science (Kruger & Kruger, 2018).