New study reveals the science behind why men are obsessed with buying expensive things
The way products are marketed towards men and women is absolutely insane. Take men's products, for example. When marketing something towards men, everything needs to be "manly." This involves packaging being made of up of navy blue, black and silver, with words such as STEEL and AXE (which have to be in capitals because, y'know, MAN STUFF) also being used. Women's products, on the other hand, are the polar opposite. Pinks, whites and pastel tones make up the majority of their colour-schemes, with words like "fresh" and "soft" being key to their appeal.
But, not only are men's products meant to be TOUGH, they're also meant to be extravagant. A large proportion of men are obsessed with having the biggest and best of anything - whether it be cars, watches, houses or, shall we say... other things.
But what fuels this need to extravagance? Why do men want Ferraris instead of Fiats? Why do we want designer and not discount? Well, thankfully, we now have an answer.
A new study carried out at the University of Pennsylvania has claimed that men's desire for high-end and expensive items stems from ideas of biological supremacy rather than caring about the actual quality of what it is they're buying.
A team of marketing professors measured the spending preferences of 243 men between the ages of 18 and 55, making it the largest study to look into the link between testosterone and status-enhancing behaviours in men.
Each man was given a gel to apply to their bodies, with some men being given a gel containing testosterone and others receiving a placebo.
The first task involved the men being shown logos of high and low-status clothing brands and being asked to choose a preference. While the quality of the products may have been similar, the perceived status was different due to the way they had been marketed.
Researchers found that the participants who had applied the testosterone-based gel were more likely to prefer the "higher status" brands.
In the second experiment, the men were presented with descriptions of various different products, ranging from sunglasses to coffee machines. Some of the items were marketed as "high-quality," while others were described as power and status-enhancing.
Unsurprisingly, those with the testosterone gel tended to lean towards the items that were perceived to be status-enhancing.
These results led to researchers concluding that elevated testosterone levels lead to an increase in male desire to “promote their social status through economic consumption”.
They suggest that this behaviour could be paralleled by habits in the animal kingdom. For example, animals have colourful coats and notable tails, features which are used to attract mates and boost their propensity for survival.
Men, channelling their animal counterparts, might convey their status through flashy tech and designer clothing, a tendency which the study suggests is provoked by boosted testosterone levels.
"In some ways this is similar to someone driving a limo or a Hummer or a Ferrari," explains lead author Gideon Nave, “it's a way of showing or signalling that you can afford to do so."
So there we have it, men are constantly in a "manhood measuring" competition with each other and want flashy cars, designer gear and expensive jewellery in order to show off. Hardly surprising, really.