Study finds that women who buy designer items are more likely to be selfish

Scientists have discovered that women who buy items from high-end fashion houses are more likely to act in a selfish manner – suggesting that when it comes to luxury attire, the devil really does wear Prada.

Academics at the University of Maryland carried out experiments to determine how designer goods alter psychology and behaviour.

In one test involving 72 female students, half received a £1,500 Prada bag and the remainder were given a non-luxury bag worth £60.

Participants were later asked to answer a questionnaire with one of a range of different pens. They were also asked how they would split a hypothetical cash prize.

Women with the Prada handbags were twice as likely to pick up the last remaining expensive-looking pen, while also awarding themselves a bigger share of the money. But this pattern of behaviour was reversed if the Prada participants had the chance to be generous in front of others.

Researchers said this was driven largely by a desire to ‘enhance one’s reputation’ rather than genuine kindness.

Yajin Wang, the university’s assistant professor of marketing, said the ‘consumption experience’ was helping change behaviour rather than it being ‘a bad person who wears luxury goods’.

Therefore, it’s not necessarily devils who are buying Prada – rather, it’s wearing Prada that changes people’s psychology and behaviour, potentially turning them into devils, said Prof Wang.

Previous research has found women who buy designer brands including Gucci and Burberry are more likely to hold politically conservative views and are less able to resist sweets and chocolate.

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