why people spend money
Men spend money while in mating mode (women don’t) link
“men in the mating condition said they would spend much more money than men in the non-mating condition - for example, they might take the European vacation rather than saving that money - but there was no mating effect on women’s consumption decisions”
“This study confirmed that conspicuous consumption (for men) and conspicuous charity (for women) can be increased by thinking about mating opportunities, and so can function strategically as a form of mating display.”
i.e. men show they can provide things and women that they can look after. Note that the second part of this test shows that these displays have to be conspicuous.
“men in the mating condition, compared with the non-mating condition, said they would spend more money on the conspicuous luxuries, and that they would actually spend less on the inconspicuous necessities; there was no effect on female consumption decisions. In contrast, women in the mating condition, compared with those in the non-mating condition, said they would spend more time on conspicuous pro-social volunteering, but no more time on the inconspicuous pro-social activities. Again, there was no effect on male volunteering.”
But spending money can be used as a signal for being a good carer and help can be a good signal for being a good provider:
“mating-primed women compared with control-condition women said they would spend more on generosity-signalling conspicuous spending; mating-primed men did the same. Also, mating-primed men compared with control-condition men said they would do more heroic helping, but not more non-heroic helping. There was no effect of mating condition on female heroic helping.”
Ritual spending: greetings cards vs post cards
Habit spending: coffee
Brand spending: I’ll have a coke.
Rhino horn spending: Buying taste like art
Male, surround luxury: gadgets
Female, be surrounded by luxury: candles, bath, cosmetics.