The More Testosterone You Have, The More You Desire Luxury Goods

The More Testosterone You Have, The More You Desire Luxury Goods

For the study, 243 men, all around the same age were split into two groups at random.

The researchers found that men given the testosterone showed greater preference for the brands that were linked to high social status, as well as increased positive attitudes toward the things that were positioned as status-enhancing, but not power-enhancing or high quality. Upon returning, they participated in tasks created to gauge their preferences for different types of goods. If this sounds abstract, these goods, in our case luxury brands, are useful measuring tools, because they separate the "haves" from the "have nots" through economic (e.g., high price) or physical (e.g., restricted access for private club members) barriers.

Men who can not get enough of luxury goods like sports cars or designer jeans may have high levels of testosterone to blame, suggests new research.

The experiment revealed that administering testosterone increases men's preference for status brands, compared with brands of similar perceived quality but lower perceived status. In modern western society, males often signal their status by purchasing and flaunting consumer goods that are typically hard to access by individuals with fewer resources. The result? a correlation of testosterone on men's preferences for positional goods.

"In the animal kingdom, testosterone promotes aggression, but the aggression is in service of status", says Camerer, the Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Economics and the T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience Leadership Chair.

After the participants read through the descriptions, some in the form of advertisements, they were asked how much they liked the description and product.

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"A lot of human behaviours are repurposed behaviours seen in our primate relatives".

Are Status Symbols Something Like Showy Peacock Tails?

"While the study shows that consumption of positional goods is partly driven by biological motives, it is important not to forget that cultural differences might play a role in the biological underpinnings of status behavior and that status signals are not universal", said author Gideon Nave from the University of Pennsylvania. "It would be easier for the peacock to escape from predators and easier for it to find food if it wasn't carrying that tail around", he says. "A human male would probably be better off not spending $300,000 on a auto, but by buying that vehicle, he's showing people that he's wealthy enough that he can".

The second task was created to tease apart testosterone's effect on the desire for luxury good from other potential effects, like an increased desire for high-quality goods or for goods that evoked a sense of power. The research team used six different product categories from coffee machines to luxury cars and created three different framings for each product category, with a similar wording but emphasizing the target product in terms of its status benefits, power benefits or high quality.

The data from this task-as with the first task-showed that men who received a dose of testosterone had a stronger preference for luxury goods than men who received the placebo.

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