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Recession Shopping Strategy: Look But Don’t Touch

If the economic tempest in which our nation presently finds itself prompts a tidal wave of shopping guilt, here’s a simple tactic to curb your impulse-buying urges: keep your mitts to yourself. And we’re not talking about the ones intended for use with an oven (if that’s the kind of thing you’re into). We’re talking about your hands. Touching, it seems, may increase your likelihood of purchasing.

What’s more, the longer you coddle an object, the more you’re likely to be willing to pay for it, suggests a new study conducted by Ohio State University. In the study, researchers asked participants to hold inexpensive coffee mugs for different time increments – either 10 or 30 seconds – and then bid on the item in a series of auctions. Four out of seven times, those in the 30-second group bid higher than both the people in the 10-second group and the mug’s retail price. So what explains this behavior?

Here’s an insightful comment from study’s lead researcher:

"The amazing part of this study is that people can become almost immediately attached to something as insignificant as a mug," said study leader James Wolf, who began the work while he was a graduate student at Ohio State. "By simply touching the mug and feeling it in their hands, many people begin to feel like the mug is, in fact, their mug. Once they begin to feel it is theirs, they are willing to go to greater lengths to keep it."

And if that happens just from touching a generic coffee mug for half a minute, we don’t even want to think about the intensified results that come with touching some gorgeous, like, say, the Jimmy Choo Mandah Hobo.

[Source: MSNBC via ShoppingBlog]