The message of consumer products

The New York Times examines the signals our consumer product purchases indicate to others.

Most of us will insist there are other reasons for going to Harvard or buying a BMW or an iPhone — and there are, of course. The education and the products can yield many kinds of rewards. But Dr. Miller says that much of the pleasure we derive from products stems from the unconscious instinct that they will either enhance or signal our fitness by demonstrating intelligence or some of the Big Five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, stability and extraversion.

Inevitably it always comes back to getting laid.

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