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Men who drive flashy cars less attractive to women looking for serious relationships, study finds

Flaunting your wealth is seen as a sign of promiscuity 

Sarah Young
Thursday 10 May 2018 13:53 BST
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Women perceive men who flaunt their wealth as unsuitable partners for a long-term relationship, a new study suggests.

US researchers from the University of Buffalo have revealed that ostentatious displays, such as driving a flashy car, could be detrimental when it comes to finding a potential partner.

This, they say, is because people who drive extravagant vehicles are viewed as less reliable and more sexually promiscuous.

The study, published in Springer’s journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, asked 375 undergraduate students to complete anonymous online surveys in a bid to investigate how others interpret a man’s display of wealth.

The participants first read through the descriptions of two men who were purchasing cars and were asked to rate each character on dating and parenting behaviours, his interest in relationships and his attractiveness to others.

Both fictional men spent the same budget but, while one man made a frugal investment, the other opted for a car with new paint, larger wheels and an impressive sound system.

The results showed that both male and female participants rated the man with the flashy car as being more interested in brief sexual relationships and did not tick the boxes for a long-term committed partner.

Interestingly, the man who made the frugal car purchase scored much higher and also received top marks as a potential life partner, parent and provider.

“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,” explains Daniel Kruger, lead author of the study.

Jessica Kruger, co-author added: “This contrasts with the notion that men's conspicuous resource displays are attractive to women because they reliably signal expected future resource investment in partners and especially in offspring.”

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