Volume 7

Perceptions of Socioeconomic Status on Physical Attraction: Does Anyone Really Care What You Drive or How You Earn Your Money?

Adrienne Roche

Although mate preference, as it relates to physical attractiveness and socioeconomic status (SES), has been investigated, methods of obtaining high SES have not been analyzed. This study provides a first look at whether method of obtaining high SES plays a role in mate desirability and whether the type of car one drives affects perceived SES. To examine the influence of SES on mate desirability, 240 female college students were randomly assigned to read 1 of 8 scenarios and complete a series of questionnaires. The scenario depicted an attractive male with varying income ($25,000; $150,000), income source (job; lottery win) and automobile (BMW Z3; Dodge Neon). Participants rated their level of attraction to the scenario male. Analyses revealed women prefer men who have a higher paying job and men who drive luxury cars. Women associated ownership of an expensive automobile with higher SES.

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