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Does Testosterone Levels Affect Men's Shopping?
When shopping, some people do not pay attention to which brand the product was made from. Then there are also people who consider it extremely important that their clothing was made by a well-known manufacturer, for example. Researchers are now investigating whether men's test sterone levels affect their buying habits. The experts found that men with an elevated testosterone level have a greater preference for goods that society sees as status symbols.
Scientists at Caltech University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Western Ontario found in their current study that elevated testosterone levels in men lead them to buy more products from well-known brands that are something of a status symbol. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Nature Communications".
Men's buying behavior is influenced by testosterone
It seems that some men cannot get enough luxury goods such as expensive sports cars or designer jeans. Scientists have now found the reason for this buying behavior. It is testosterone. Testosterone has a measurable effect on a man's preference for brands that are considered status symbols, the experts say. For example, a man with a higher testosterone level is more likely to choose branded jeans compared to a man with a lower testosterone level.
What does testosterone do?
This makes perfect sense because one of the main functions of testosterone is to motivate the man to achieve a high status. This is exactly how testosterone causes men to try to protect their status, the doctors explain. "Testosterone promotes aggression in the animal kingdom, but aggression is in the service of status," study author Professor Colin Camerer of the California Institute of Technology said in a press release. Many human behaviors can also be observed in primates in the animal kingdom. People replace physical aggression with some kind of aggression in buying behavior.
Men want to show what they have achieved
The scientists looked for the biological origin of a so-called conspicuous consumer behavior when it comes to purchasing luxury goods and services to increase social status. Such buying behavior is comparable to the magnificent tail feathers of a male peacock, the experts explain. If the male peacock didn't have to find a partner, the peacock would certainly be better off without its tail decoration. For example, he could flee from predators much easier and find food more easily. In biology, this is known as costly signal transmission. A man would probably be better off not spending $ 300,000 on a luxury car, but by buying this car, he's showing people that he's rich enough to be able to acquire such a status symbol, the scientists say.
Subjects received testosterone or placebo
The study included a total of 243 male volunteers, ages 18 to 55, who were randomly selected to receive a dose of testosterone gel or placebo gel. This gel was then absorbed through the skin by the test subjects. Then the participants were sent home and after four hours they were asked to return to the laboratory, because at this point the level of testosterone in their blood was close to peak, the researchers say. Upon their return, they took on various tasks to determine their preferences for different types of goods.
Testosterone changed buying behavior
First, participants should use a slider on a scale of one to ten, one representing a brand with a lower social status but otherwise equivalent quality, and ten representing a brand with a high social status, which brand they preferred and how strong their preference was. The data the researchers collected during this task showed that the men who received a dose of testosterone had a greater preference for the luxury brands than the men who took the placebo.
Was status more important than quality?
The second task was to separate the effect of testosterone on the desire for luxury goods from other potential effects, such as an increased desire for high-quality goods or goods that created a feeling of power, the researchers explain. This task showed the study participants a series of advertisements for consumer goods such as a car, sunglasses or a coffee machine. Participants randomly received one of three versions of an advertisement for each of these items, each version emphasizing either the quality, luxury, or power of the item. After reviewing the advertisements, they were asked to rate their attitudes toward this item on a scale of one to ten.
Testosterone dose led to preference for luxury goods
The results of this second task also showed that men who received a testosterone dose had a greater preference for luxury goods than men who only received the placebo. However, there was no corresponding increase in preference for goods that were advertised as productive or of higher quality, the authors of the study explain. In primates, male animals use a lot of time and energy to establish dominance among the other animals. People behave similarly, but our means of showing dominance are different. We show dominance through the clothes we wear and our lifestyle instead of using claws, fists and muscles like primates, explains Carter. (as)