Men in flashy cars are looking for flings

Image: 123RF/teddyleung

Men in flashy cars are just looking for a fling — and they’re likely to get one‚ academic research has found.

Similarly‚ men who buy “sensible” cars get top marks from women as potential life partners‚ parents and providers.

Revealing their findings in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science‚ US academics Daniel Kruger and Jessica Kruger said men had a greater tendency than women to display their wealth — consistent with their typical role as providers.

“Across cultures‚ a woman’s preference for a certain partner at a specific time reflects the type of partnership she is considering‚” they said.

“Physical qualities are more important when she has a brief fling in mind‚ while a man’s wealth is more influential when she is deciding on a suitable life partner who can provide for her children.”

The study investigated how a man’s display of wealth is interpreted by others. Two groups of undergraduates completed anonymous online surveys after reading descriptions of two men who were buying cars. The participants then rated each character on dating and parenting behaviours‚ his interest in relationships and his attractiveness to others.

Both men spent the same amount but one man made a frugal investment by buying a new car for the sake of reliability while the other opted for a used car and spent the remaining money on new paint‚ larger wheels and an impressive sound system.

Male and female participants both rated the man with the flashy car as being more interested in brief sexual relationships. He scored higher marks for the effort he made at securing a mate but received low marks for how much he was willing to invest as a potential life partner.

The flashy man was more attractive to women for brief sexual encounters‚ but did not tick the boxes for a long-term committed partner for a relationship in which to raise families. In this case‚ the man who made the frugal car purchase scored much higher. Overall‚ he 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‚” said Daniel Kruger.

“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‚” said Jessica Kruger‚ adding that the study increased researchers’ understanding of how human psychology and behaviour applies to technologically advanced and wealthy societies.

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