Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Guilt Doesn't Keep Some Of Us From Making The Same Mistakes Twice

Date:
August 9, 2007
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Many of us experience a tinge of guilt as we delight in feelings of pleasure from our favorite indulgences, like splurging on an expensive handbag or having another drink. Yet, in spite of documented ambivalence towards temptation and well-meaning vows not to succumb again, consumers often repeat the same or similar choices. A new study examines repeated impulsive behavior despite the presence of guilt -- important research underscored by the increasing prevalence of binge drinking, obesity and credit card debt.

Many of us experience a tinge of guilt as we delight in feelings of pleasure from our favorite indulgences, like splurging on an expensive handbag or having another drink. We make resolutions: this will be the last time, positively.

Yet, in spite of documented ambivalence towards temptation and well-meaning vows not to succumb again, consumers often end up repeating the same or similar choices. A new study by Suresh Ramanathan (University of Chicago) and Patti Williams (Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania) examines repeated impulsive behavior despite the presence of guilt -- important research underscored by the increasing prevalence of binge drinking, obesity, and credit card debt.

While most published research has examined the emotional consequences of self-control lapses, Ramanathan and Williams expand the literature by studying the affective outcomes of indulgent consumption as it unfolds over time. In two studies, they examine the immediate and delayed emotional consequences of engaging in indulgent consumption among both prudent and impulsive consumers.

Significantly, the researchers find that both impulsive and prudent consumers experience a mixture of positive and negative emotions immediately after consuming a food indulgence. However, the components of the emotional ambivalence are different across the two groups.

"While the impulsive consumers do feel negative emotions such as stress, they do not feel much guilt or regret," the authors reveal.

Further, the time course of these emotions is different across the two types of consumers. Impulsive people continue to feel residual effects of their positive emotions over time, but experience a sharp decline in their negative emotions. Prudent people continue to experience strong negative and self-conscious emotions, but report significantly lower levels of positive emotions.

"Thus, over time, impulsive consumers are left only with their positive feelings about indulging, while prudent consumers are left only with their negative feelings about indulging. This, in turn, affects propensity to repeat an act of indulgence," the authors explain.

Therefore, impulsive consumers are much more likely to engage in a second indulgent act over time than are prudent consumers. The authors also find differences in the extent to which people take actions to undo their emotional ambivalence. After indulging once, prudent consumers are more likely than impulsive consumers to seize an opportunity to make a utilitarian choice.

"Impulsive people may be more comfortable with duality or conflict, or may be more resigned to the experience of such conflict," the authors conclude. "Prudent people, on the other hand, seem to be more eager to seize the chance to launder their negative emotions."

Reference: Suresh Ramanathan and Patti Williams. "Immediate and Delayed Emotional Consequences of Indulgence: The Moderating Influence of Personality Type on Mixed Emotions," Journal of Consumer Research: August 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Why Guilt Doesn't Keep Some Of Us From Making The Same Mistakes Twice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070807135714.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2007, August 9). Why Guilt Doesn't Keep Some Of Us From Making The Same Mistakes Twice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070807135714.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Why Guilt Doesn't Keep Some Of Us From Making The Same Mistakes Twice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070807135714.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2014) According to researchers at Albright College, women have the ability to make their voices sound sexier, but men don't. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins