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Abstract

Manipulated prestige car ownership has been shown previously to enhance male attractiveness. In the current study the illusion of status-linked property ownership was achieved by presenting a target male and female (matched for attractiveness) adopting a casual posture standing in either a ‘high status’ (luxury apartment) or a ‘neutral status’ (standard apartment) context. A between-subjects design was used with the photographic stimuli presented amongst other masking stimuli and rated for attractiveness by opposite-sex university undergraduate participants (N = 102) on a scale of 1–10. The male model was rated significantly more attractive when presented to females in the high status compared to the neutral status context and was also adjudged to be significantly more attractive than the female target superimposed on an identical background. There was no significant difference in the female target models attractiveness ratings given by males across the two contexts. These results were obtained despite no sex-differences being found when separate participants were asked to rate the plausibility of each target model owning or renting the luxury property they were depicted in. These findings add to a growing body of work high-lighting the importance of contextual, evolutionarily relevant status cues in male attractiveness judgements.

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