This new study consisted of two experiments. All the subjects were heterosexual, aged between 18 and 27 and involved in ongoing relationships ranging in duration from 2 months to 7 years, with an average duration of 20 months.
In the first experiment, subjects were made to feel either more or less wealthy using an established psychological procedure. Following this, they were asked to indicate how satisfied they were with their partner. Levels of satisfaction were measured for both physical attractiveness and resources they brought to the relationship. It was found that men who had been made to feel "wealthy" were less satisfied with their current partner’s physical appearance and were more likely to consider short-term relationships than men who had been made to feel "poorer". Women on the other hand who had been made to feel "wealthy" didn't rate their partner as less attractive than the women who had been made to feel poorer.
In the second experiment, researchers used a mental simulation method to give the feeling of having relatively more or less money. Subjects were asked to read an essay about growing up having either abundant financial resources or meagre resources to activate the idea of having an abundant or a restricted amount of money.
After they finished imagining a "rich" or "poor" life, they were shown a photograph of an attractive person of the opposite sex and told they would now have a three minute face-to-face conversation with them. They were then taken to another room, which had a long desk and six chairs. Some persons belongings (Coat, Bag etc.) were placed on one of the chairs. The subject was told that the attractive person they would meet had been sitting on the seat with the items and would come back soon. The subject was asked to take a seat and wait. They had five choices of chair to choose from: (from 1 = “closest to” to 5 = “furthest from” this person’s seat). Their chair choice represented their chosen distance from the attractive person.
Individuals who had been made to feel "wealthy" selected a seat closer to the attractive persons seat than those who had been conditioned to feel poor who sat further away. In addition, the men chose a closer seat than the women. This showed that the feeling of having relatively more money gave people more confidence to approach attractive people more closely than those with the feeling of having relatively less money.
The two experiments suggests that how wealthy you feel influences your level of confidence and relationship behaviour. It saddens the romantic heart but it does appear that money changes everything.