Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are Men Hardwired To Overspend?

Date:
December 11, 2008
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Bling, foreclosures, rising credit card debt, bank and auto bailouts, upside down mortgages and perhaps a mid-life crisis new Corvette -- all symptoms of compulsive overspending.

Bling, foreclosures, rising credit card debt, bank and auto bailouts, upside down mortgages and perhaps a mid-life crisis new Corvette—all symptoms of compulsive overspending.

University of Michigan researcher Daniel Kruger looks to evolution and mating for an explanation. He theorizes that men overspend to attract mates. It all boils down, as it has for hundreds of thousands of years, to making babies.

Kruger, an assistant research scientist in the School of Public Health, tested his hypothesis in a community sample of adults aged 18-45 and found that the degree of financial consumption was directly related to future mating intentions and past mating success for men but not for women.

Financial consumption was the only factor that predicted how many partners men wanted in the next five years and also predicted the number of partners they had in the previous five years, Kruger said. Being married made a difference in the frequency of one-time sexual partners in the last year, but not in the number of partners in the past or desired in the future.

The 25 percent of men with the most conservative financial strategies had an average of three partners in the past five years and desired an average of just one in the next five years. The 2 percent of men with the riskiest financial strategies had double those numbers.

"Men in the ancestral environment were valued if they were good providers. Now we have this new consumer culture, so basically we show our potential through the consumer goods that we purchase, rather than being a good hunter or providing protection," Kruger said.

"It gives an ultimate explanation for why we feel we have to keep up with the Joneses. Especially for guys, our position in the social hierarchy is based on our resources. Economic success has traditionally been good for men's reproductive success, so men have an incentive to show that they are doing well economically."

So where does the current economic downturn come into play?

"It is partially a result of our economic system and recent financial policies, but I really do think that our evolved mating strategies have an influence. Our competition for economic displays drives our consumer economy and culture of affluence," he said. "In terms of the current mortgage crisis, the findings suggest that one of the reasons why we overextend ourselves is that we're basically in a status race. We have expectations that spiral upward as people make more money and everyone wants to show that they are better than average."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Are Men Hardwired To Overspend?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208180514.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2008, December 11). Are Men Hardwired To Overspend?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208180514.htm
University of Michigan. "Are Men Hardwired To Overspend?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208180514.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins