Testosterone levels linked with men's desire for luxury goods

Testosterone and male consumer behaviour

Testosterone and male consumer behaviour

For the study, 243 men, all around the same age were split into two groups at random.

The test results showed that the men who received a dose of testosterone had a stronger preference for the luxury brands than men who got the placebo. If this sounds abstract, these goods, in our case luxury brands, are useful measuring tools, because they separate the "haves" from the "have nots" through economic (e.g., high price) or physical (e.g., restricted access for private club members) barriers.

The researchers found that the men who had received a dose of testosterone had a stronger preference for luxury goods than men who had received the placebo, but there was no increase in preference in the testosterone group for goods that were advertised as powerful or higher in quality. "Our results suggest that in such contexts, male consumers might ... find status-related brand communications more appealing", say the researchers. Blame testosterone, a new study says.

A recent study conducted by a research team around Hilke Plassmann, the INSEAD Chaired Professor of Decision Neuroscience & Brain and Spine Institute (ICM - Inserm/CNRS/Sorbonne Université), a principal investigator in the Social Affective Neuroscience Team at the ICM, David Dubois, Associate Professor of Marketing at INSEAD and Gideon Nave, Assistant Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School & the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative shows that testosterone, the male sex hormone, increased men's preference for status goods compared to goods of similar perceived quality but seen as lower in status. "In the animal kingdom, testosterone promotes aggression, but the aggression is in service of status", he says. After reviewing the ad, they were asked to rate their attitude toward that item on a scale of 1 to 10.

Are Status Symbols Something Like Showy Peacock Tails?

In evolutionary biology, something called the handicap principle explains the presence of seemingly impractical ornaments such as the peacock's tail or a stag's bulky antlers. "A human male would probably be better off not spending $300,000 on a auto, but by buying that vehicle, he's showing people that he's wealthy enough that he can". The research team used six different product categories from coffee machines to luxury cars and created three different framings for each product category, with a similar wording but emphasizing the target product in terms of its status benefits, power benefits or high quality.

The second task meant to investigate the effect of testosterone on the two distinct routes to high social rank - status and power.

When asked about whether knowing that the driver of their actions was, at least in part, biologic could cause the men to change their testosterone-driver behavior, Dr. Nave says no: Biologic drivers have typically not been successful for, say, stopping smoking or other addictions.

Do the findings imply that women have a preference for men who drive a Ferrari or wear a Rolex? Talk therapy can help people learn about what is behind their actions and have some control over those actions, he says.