Where the participants chose to meet with their partner depended on how attractive that partner was. If the partner was attractive, the participants chose to meet where the undergraduates were, “flaunting” their sexy partners. If the participant thought that their partner was unattractive, they chose to hang out with the administrators. (The control group was given a similar story, but wasn’t shown photographs of partners.)
So, why did the subjects who received attractive partners “flaunt” them? Judging from survey responses, the researchers concluded that participants who had attractive partners believed that their social status and desirability would be improved among their peers. Perhaps flaunting an attractive partner serves as a “signal” that you’re a hot commodity, advertising just how wealthy, superior and perhaps even how genetically gifted you are.
And, since relationships often aren’t permanent, it’s good to maintain your status and sexual desirability among your peers — just in case you find yourself single and ready to mingle. (Perhaps this explains why celebrities insist on dragging around arm candy everywhere they go?)