Blatant Benevolence and Conspicuous Consumption: When Romantic Motives Elicit Strategic Costly Signals

Vladas Griskevicius, Arizona State University
Joshua Tybur, University of New Mexico
Jill Sundie, University of Houston
Robert Cialdini, Geoffrey Miller, Douglas Kenrick, Arizona State University, University of New Mexico, Arizona State University
Conspicuous displays of consumption and benevolence might serve as “costly signals” of desirable qualities in a romantic partner. If so, these behaviors should vary strategically with manipulations of mating-related motives. A series of experiments examined this possibility. For men, inducing romantic motives increased willingness to spend on conspicuous luxuries, but not on basic necessities. For women, mating goals boosted public—but not private—helping. Romantic motives also led both men and women to conspicuously donate more money to charities. Overall, romantic motives seem to produce highly strategic and sex-specific self-presentations best understood within a costly signaling framework.
[ to cite ]:
Vladas Griskevicius, Joshua Tybur, Jill Sundie, and Robert Cialdini, Geoffrey Miller, Douglas Kenrick (2008) ,"Blatant Benevolence and Conspicuous Consumption: When Romantic Motives Elicit Strategic Costly Signals", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 225-228.