Money really does matter in relationships: study

May 24, 2016, Frontiers
Credit: George Hodan/public domain

Our romantic choices are not just based on feelings and emotions, but how rich we feel compared to others, a new study published in Frontiers in Psychology has found.

"We wanted a better understanding of the psychological importance of money in the development of romantic relationships because very little is known about this subject. That way people would have a better perspective of the relationships they are in," explained Professor Darius Chan from the Department of Psychology, at the University of Hong Kong.

Two experiments were performed on groups of Chinese college students already involved in heterosexual long term relationships. The couples were made to think they were either wealthy or poor to examine their .

In the first study they found the were less satisfied with their current partners' and were more interested in short-term relationships than those who were made to feel that they had less money. However, women who felt wealthy did not make higher demands regarding the men's physical appearance.

All of the wealthy participants in the second study found it easier to interact with an attractive member of the opposite sex than those belonging to a financially disadvantaged class. Interestingly and as expected, more men than women from both wealthy and poor conditions selected a closer seat to the more attractive people.

"We remarked that wealthy men attach more importance to a mate's physical attractiveness setting higher standards and preferring to engage in short-term mating than those who have less money. However, for committed women, money may lead to less variation in their mating strategies because losing a long-term relationship generally has a higher reproductive cost," explained Chan.

From an evolutionary perspective, conditional mating strategies helped our ancestors maximize their reproductive success.

However, by looking at how people reacted when they thought themselves to be wealthy or poor supports the evolutionary psychology hypothesis that individuals adopt conditional in response to environmental conditions such as possession.

Even though the study was applied to a specific culture, these psychological mechanisms still play important roles in human mating. "Whereas it remains as an empirical question to be answered, we expect that our findings are likely to be found in other cultures as well, because the basic mechanisms of mate selection have been found to be rather similar across culture," Chan said.

Explore further: Deep male voices not so much sexy as intimidating

More information: Yi Ming Li et al, When Love Meets Money: Priming the Possession of Money Influences Mating Strategies, Frontiers in Psychology (2016). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00387

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3 comments

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jiridrozd
1 / 5 (1) May 24, 2016
Little is known, and little will be known until psychologists start using represenative and unbiased samples, and stop taking 0.3 correlations as significant.
Zzzzzzzz
not rated yet May 24, 2016
The subject's overall confidence levels, based on self-perception of their social standing, are driven in part by the perception of wealth. This will influence behaviors in social situations.
Drivers other than wealth that increase self confidence of social standing should have the same result. The interesting part develops when the perceptions of other than self come into play - invariably the self perception is not validated by the other than self perceptions. For a prime example, note one Donald Trump.
serge747
not rated yet May 25, 2016
Of course, nothing is said about how women react to whealthy men. That would be so politically incorrect to prove what everyone knows. Let's stick to male behavior, this way no risk of outrage.

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