According to an interesting study, our romantic choices are not just based on feelings and emotions, but how rich we feel compared to others.
The researchers have suggested that human beings engage in “conditional mating strategies”, basing their romantic choices on environmental factors like wealth.
“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 the people would have a better perspective of the relationships they are in,” said Darius Chan, a professor at the University of Hong Kong.
The researchers performed two experiments on groups of Chinese college students which were already involved in heterosexual long-term relationships. The couples were made to think that they were either wealthy or poor to examine their mating behaviour.
In the first study, men who felt rich were less satisfied with their partners’ physical attractiveness and were more interested in short-term relationships than those who were made to feel that they were poor.
However, women who felt wealthy did not make higher demands regarding the men’s physical appearance.
In the second study, all of the wealthy participants found it easier to interact with an attractive member of the opposite sex than those belonging to a financially disadvantaged class.
Indeed, more men than women from both wealthy and poor conditions selected a closer seat to the more attractive people.
“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,” Chan explained.
In addition, the study was so far limited to a particular culture, but this plays a role for human mating overall, the researchers noted in the paper published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
“We expect that our findings are likely to be found in other cultures as well,” Chan said, adding “because the basic mechanisms of mate selection have been found to be rather similar across culture.”