Study: Luxury items play a role in protecting a relationship - CBS46 News

Study: Luxury items play a role in protecting a relationship

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Here's a blow to your psyche. Apparently, women buy designer shoes, handbags and other luxury items to prevent other women from stealing their man.

In a series of five experiments with 649 women of varying ages and relationship statuses, researchers say they discovered that women's luxury products often function as a signaling system directed at other women who pose a threat to their romantic relationships.

Carlson School of Management Associate Professor Vladas Griskevicius and PhD student Yajin Wang say they found that a "woman who is wearing luxury items and designer brands is perceived to have a more devoted partner and as a result other women are less likely to flirt with him."

Wang went on to say "regardless of who actually purchased the items, other women inferred that the man had something to do with it and is thus more devoted to her."

"The feeling that a relationship is being threatened by another woman automatically triggers women to want to flash Gucci, Chanel and Fendi to other women," explains Wang. "A designer handbag or a pair of expensive shoes seems to work like a shield, where wielding a Fendi handbag successfully fends off romantic rivals."

This research highlights that luxury products serve an important function in relationships, but that men and women use conspicuous consumption for a different purpose.

You can read more about the study here.

Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation).  CNN contributed to this report.

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