If you’re sad and shopping, watch your wallet: A new study shows people’s spending judgment goes out the window when they’re down, especially if they’re a bit self-absorbed.
Study participants who watched a sadness-inducing video clip offered to pay nearly four times as much money to buy a water bottle than a group that watched an emotionally neutral clip.
The so-called “misery is not miserly” phenomenon is well-known to psychologists, advertisers and personal shoppers alike, and has been documented in a similar study in 2004.
The new study released Friday by researchers from four universities goes further, trying to answer whether temporary sadness alone can trigger spendthrift tendencies.
The study found a willingness to spend freely by sad people occurs mainly when their sadness triggers greater “self-focus.” That response was measured by counting how frequently study participants used references to “I,” “me,” “my” and “myself” in writing an essay about how a sad situation such as the one portrayed in the video would affect them personally.