This study draws on three diverse, yet complementary research areas: self-presentation; possessions as symbols; and an evolutionary approach to mate selection and parental investment.The evolutionary framework offers the chance to understand consumer behavior as an extension of behavior patterns established long before the age of consumer goods.This research is presented in the second major section entitled, "An Empirical Test of Client Utilization Models for Social Introduction Services".
The singles business is booming (Andrews 1988, Bennet 1989, Blodgett 1986, Brand 1988, and Mullan 1984) and represents a significant change in the way many Americans go about finding a mate.
(p.1) These events have not been overlooked by academic researchers (see Adelman and Bernard 1990, for review).
The use of products and consumer activities can play an important role in how people define, present, and symbolize themselves to others, which is a critical step in the dating and mating process.
One dating arena where the link between consumer activities and romantic self-presentation is explicit is personal advertisements, designed to attract responses from readers.
This study surveyed a sample of personal ad writers to examine the role that consumer activities play in presenting the self and attracting a potential mate.
Research on mate selection involves a myriad of theoretical approaches, ranging from genetic theories to Jungian psychology.
In some cases, researchers have used these services as a convenient vehicle to investigate basic questions about mate selection (Curran 1972, 1973a, 1973b, Curran and Lippold 1975, Woll and Cozby 1987, and Woll and Young 1989), whereas other researchers have sought a better understanding of this phenomenon in its own right (Adelman 1987, Bolig, Stein, and Mc Kenry 1984, Cameron, Oskamp and Williams 1977, Godwin 1973, Jedlicka 1981, and Woll 1986).
This paper presents two examples of research involving formal social intermediaries, one from each of these two categories.
Therefore an evolutionary approach does not tell the whole story. Barkow (1980) suggests that social (and presumably consumer) behavior can be explained by at least four different levels of analysis: physiological, individual differences, culture, and evolution (see also Tooby and Cosmides, 1989).
These levels should be complementary, but they are not necessarily derivable from each other.
xix) used the phrase intimate marketing to refer to certain aspects of romantic relationships.