Women Use Luxury Accessories to Deter Romantic Rivals

Consumer behavior: By flaunting expensive shoes and handbags, women effectively deter potential romantic rivals, according to a series of experiments by doctoral student Yajin Wang and Vladas Griskevicius of the University of Minnesota. For example, after each research participant was prompted to imagine another woman flirting with her partner, those who were instructed to envision being alone with their rivals spent 77% more of a small honorarium on a chance to win a gift card for a luxury-spending spree, suggesting that women whose relationships are threatened seek conspicuous goods only when the products can be seen by a potential rival. Other experiments show that the deterrent is effective, probably because women perceive a man as more devoted to his partner when she sports pricey products, the researchers say.

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