(CBS) Are guys with flashy cars looking for sex but afraid of commitment? A new study suggests that guys with fancy wheels aren't the marrying type.
"Conspicuous products, such as Porsches, can serve the same function for some men that large and brilliant feathers serve for peacocks," Jill Sundie, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Texas-San Antonio, said in a university written statement.
The researchers looked at more than 1,000 men and found that owning a luxury sports car made men more desirable to women - but only as a date. Men who pursued this strategy tended to be interested primarily in short-term sexual relationships, the study found, and it looks like women caught on. The women the authors interviewed said they believed men's splashy spending meant they only wanted uncommitted sex.
In this way, the behavior of the guys with flashy cars mimics that of a peacock that flashes its feathers to attract mates, according to the study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
"People may feel that owning flashy things makes them more attractive as a relationship partner," said study co-author Daniel Beal, an assistant professor of psychology at Rice University. "But in truth, many men might be sending women the wrong message."