Expensive Purchases Are Like Peacock Feathers, Except They Don't Work

Expensive Purchases Are Like Peacock Feathers, Except They Don't Work

Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico, says marketers are trying too hard to find a working model of why people spend money the way they do. It really comes down to the human equivalent of “cost signaling” in the animal world—a sort of “peacock feather” display that’s supposed to tell peers and prospective mates how smart or sophisticated we are. The only problem is, other people never fall for it.