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Conspicuous consumption and testosterone

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Conspicuous consumption and testosterone

Vongas, John G (2007) Conspicuous consumption and testosterone. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis applies evolutionary theory to investigate physiological outcomes of male-based conspicuous consumption. In sexually reproducing species, including humans, males employ ostentatious signals to attract females. Such signals convey their relative social status compared with other suitors and, therefore, their superior reproductive fitness. Hence, signals act as important cues to prospective females who wish to select the most desirable mate. In addition, males who experience changes in their social status demonstrate changes in their androgen levels: elevations in their status trigger testosterone (T) level rises, whereas demotions in their status induce T level drops. The predictions made herein are that T levels should rise in men who engage in sexual signaling via conspicuous consumption (Experiment 1), whereas they should drop in men who witness the conspicuousness of other men (Experiment 2). Experiment 1 had 43 males drive an exotic sports car and an old sedan on isolated highways and on busy downtown streets. As expected, T levels were significantly higher when driving the exotic car, with the lowest levels occurring with the sedan in the downtown condition. In experiment 2, 40 males were each paired with a higher-status male confederate in a focus group whose moderator, either male or female, questioned them on specific consumption activities. Contrary to expectations, T levels significantly increased in the female condition only, suggesting that an interaction with the female overrode any perceived intra-sexual "defeats". This thesis constitutes a pioneering study in consumer behavior because it is the first one to unite marketing with biology.

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Vongas, John G
Pagination:xi, 168 leaves : ill., ports., forms ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M. Sc. Admin.)
Program:John Molson School of Business
Date:2007
Thesis Supervisor(s):Saad, Gad
ID Code:975779
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:14
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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