Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How to dampen that urge to buy.

A brief post appropriate to the season: Seeing DeSteno's recent OpEd piece in the NYTimes make me think this is a relevant time to point back to my June post on his work. His OpEd piece is trying to broadcast to a larger audience possibly revving up for Black Friday's shopping madness. Exercising self-control to resist impulse buying takes a lot of energy, which is easily depleted. The DeSteno et al. experiments show that there is an easier way: cultivating the emotion of gratitude enhances patience and self-control. They asked asked 75 people to recall and describe in writing one of three events: a time they felt grateful, a time they felt amused or a typical day. Those describing a time of feeling greatful were twice as likely to be able to defer an immediate gratification in favor of a longer term reward. The take home message is that feeling grateful can sometimes temporarily enhance self-control by decreasing desires for immediate gratification.  (And, guess who just ordered a larger flat screen TV from Amazon's Black Friday sale, being delivered this Friday....)

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