March 24, 2009; Telegraph.UK-
Men who drive expensive cars really are more attractive to women, according to a study by university researchers.
Psychologists proved what car-dealers have boasted for generations the car one drives is key when it comes to turning a woman’s head.
The university team showed women pictures of the same man sitting in two cars – a £70,000 silver Bentley Continental and a battered Ford Fiesta.
The women, who were aged between 21 to 40, picked the man sitting in the Bentley ahead of the same man in the Ford.
Dr Michael Dunn, of the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff, said it shows women rate a man higher if he is behind the wheels of a “fancy motor rather than in an old banger”.
His research, in the latest edition of the British Journal of Psychology, also shows that men are more interested in a women’s looks not her motor.
The researchers say the men tested in the same way are not impressed by whatever car a woman drives because they judge purely on her face and figure.
Dr Dunn said his findings confirmed that women judge a man by his wealth and status whereas men are primarily concerned with what a woman looks like.
He said he was spurred by his own interest in evolutionary psychology along with the increasing number of women buying so-called “high end” motors.
He said: “There’s a wide variety of evidence that does suggest that females are more influenced by wealth and status.
“It’s not a recent phenomenon. It is very ingrained and the evidence is not just anecdotal.
“Females focus on questions of wealth and status because if the male possesses those, that male would be in a better condition to rear healthy offspring.”
Dr Dunn believes this basic human trait will not change in the future – even as women become more independent and wealthy in their own rights.
He said: “It appears that the stereotype of women being positively influenced by a man’s status is true and, evolutionarily speaking, this makes sense.
“However, even with the growing number of women in high-paid careers and the fact that they can be highly successful has no effect on how attractive they are to men.
“What you find is that these new, wealthy women still show a preferment for high-status males.”
Now his researchers plan to carry out further studies – to guide men buying expensive cars in their mid-life crisis.
Dr Dunn, who admits to driving an old Ford Ka, will examine if high-status items like expensive cars can help make up for “the attractiveness-diminishing effects of age.”
In other words, do middle-aged men in expensive cars seem more attractive to women despite their grey hair and expanding waistline.
Dr Dunn admitted that his research could also be interpreted as evidence that women are shallower than men. He said: “Let’s face it – there’s evidence to support it.”