In romantic novels and movies, it is easy to see passionate love between a young man and a young woman with very different socioeconomic status.
However, in real life, money is an important factor that influences how far a romantic relationship can go.
The feeling of have relatively more or less money may impact not only one’s opinion about her/his partner, but also how s/he approaches an attractive member of the opposite sex.
In a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology, psychologists tested the above hypothesis.
College students involved in steady, heterosexual romantic relationships took part in two experiments.
In each experiment, researchers triggered participants’ feelings of having relatively more or less money, and then they examined participants’ thoughts and behaviors related to mating.
In experiment 1, when men felt that they had relatively more money, they were less happy about their partner’s physical attractiveness. When they felt that they had relatively less money, however, they were much happier about their partners’ looks. The interesting thing is that in the women group, no such difference was found.
In experiment 2, when both men and women felt that they had relatively more money, they showed a greater “behavioral approach tendency” toward an attractive member of the opposite sex. When they felt that they had relatively less money, they showed a smaller approach tendency.
These findings suggest that the subjective feeling of having money can affect men’s preferences about the look of a mate in a long-term relationship.
In addition, people who feel they are rich may have more interest in an attractive alternative. To summarize, environmental conditions can change our mating strategies.
Citation: Li YM, Li J, Chan DK, Zhang B. (2016). When Love Meets Money: Priming the Possession of Money Influences Mating Strategies. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:387. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00387
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