Peacocks have their extravagant plumage, bull elk their haunting bugle. And men? They have the iPhone 6.
At least that's the word from researchers at the University of Wuerzburg in Germany. Their new study of 352 men and women between the ages of 16 and 34 shows that guys who are single or in uncommitted relationships and looking for a short-term mate are more likely than their more committed peers to purchase a high-status smartphone.
The study's authors -- Christine Hennighausen, a doctoral student in the university's department of media psychology and her university colleague Prof. Frank Schwab -- said in their paper that they believe men looking for a fling might flash their fancy phones to convince potential mates that they have sufficient resources to provide for them.
The study, published in the recent issue of Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science, also showed that men who were interested in a long-term relationship rather than a one-night stand were more likely to buy an inexpensive, low-status smartphone.
"This behavior might signal his intention to save resources in the long-term, which, in turn, makes him pretty attractive for women according to evolutionary theories of parental investment and sexual selection," Hennighausen told The Huffington Post in an email.
What about women's phones? No link was found between a woman's phone choice and her relationship status. According to the researchers, that may be because "women primarily display conspicuous consumption amidst same-sex competition."
Now for the obvious question: if your boyfriend rushed out to buy the new iPhone 6, does that mean he's on the prowl? Not necessarily, Hennighausen told HuffPost. Rather than a slam-dunk sign of a roving eye, the decision to buy a new phone is "more like a puzzle piece" and that other clues have to be considered.