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How Hormones Influence Your Shopping Behavior

‘Your Brain on Shopping’ investigates.

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“Unfortunately there are a lot of stereotypes that exist about women and fluctuations of their mood across their [menstrual] cycle,” says Kristina Durante, who studies how hormones drive people’s shopping habits, among other behaviors, at Rutgers Business School.

But there is something to the fact that fluctuating hormones do impact our changing moods — and that goes for women and men.

Men’s primary ruling sex hormone is testosterone, and women’s is estrogen. Women’s estrogen levels fluctuate throughout any given month, while men’s testosterone levels also shift, though not quite so predictably.

Since hormones drive humans to reproduction and are, as Durante puts it, “the puppeteers of our social behavior,” they can influence how we shop. Specifically, higher levels of these sex hormones may make you more likely to buy items that will signal your status to the opposite sex — think shinier, flashier, more expensive things. Meanwhile, drops in these hormones may make us less likely to open our wallets.

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