Study: Sadness, self focus, impair ability to spend wisely

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.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Psychology

2 comments on “Study: Sadness, self focus, impair ability to spend wisely

  1. bob carlton says:

    It truly amazes me that churchianity expends so much energy on values – family values, traditional values – but turns so much of a blind eye to the foundational value of our time – consumerism.

    I so admire what Rick Warren has said:

    “The American church as a whole needs to move from selfish consumerism to unselfish contribution. Those are poles apart. To start with a woman who’s most interested in how many diamonds she’s got in her tennis bracelet, and move her to sit under a banyan tree holding an AIDS baby- that’s a giant leap. People in this culture are trained to think about me, me, me; I’ve got to do what’s best for me. Even when we go to church we have this consumer mentality.”

    Without fail, posts on sites like t1:9 or lib/progressive sites get tens of comments on homosexuality, abortion or church politics, but a post on consumerism is met with silence.

    As Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew:
    Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

  2. Ralinda says:

    Bob Carlton, I don’t think that’s a fair criticism because there have been many lively discussions here about consumerism and Christian stewardship.
    On the lighter side, my first reaction to this article was a big “duh” as I remembered an old friend who used to say PMS and shopping do not mix.