A series of studies, "Peacocks, Porsches and Thorstein Veblen: Conspicuous Consumption as a Sexual Signaling System," was published recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
A peacock's tail is beautiful: magnificent plumage, iridescent colors. Alas, it is also wasteful. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to develop. Sound like bitcoins?
Sexual signalling really works -- just not necessarily as intended when a man buys the biggest TV or the flashiest car or has the fattest bitcoin wallet.dat.
Women, they found, respond to men who spend lavishly. In one of the studies, women viewed two biographies for a man -- each 32, with a master's degree, a good job and interests in bicycling, movies and music. The only difference -- one drove a Porsche ($58,000) and the other a Honda Civic ($15,655).
The women preferred the man with the Porsche as a date -- but not for marriage. They inferred from his flashy spending that he was interested in sex without commitment, the study concluded.
Through surveys of men under 30, the most sexually active age group, the researchers also concluded that about one-third are consistent peacocks. Another third switch back and forth depending on the situation. But they tend to be problem boyfriends.
Once a peacock always a peacock, he added -- since that same group tends to be the problem husbands.
"They are the guys who cheat on their wives," Griskevicius said.
The moral of this story: Don't marry a guy who has bitcoins!