Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Do consumers always approach pleasure and avoid pain? New study suggests an alternative

Date:
December 26, 2009
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Whether it's doing sit-ups or eating steamed veggies instead of fries, it's often difficult to get ourselves to do something we know is beneficial. A new study says we can trick ourselves into more favorable evaluations of certain products and behaviors.

Whether it's doing sit-ups or eating steamed veggies instead of fries, it's often difficult to get ourselves to do something we know is beneficial. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research says we can trick ourselves into more favorable evaluations of certain products and behaviors.

"Our natural inclination is to avoid -- or try to avoid -- anything immediately aversive even though it may be beneficial for us in the long term," write authors Aparna A. Labroo (University of Chicago) and Jesper Nielsen (University of Arizona). "But to what extent might our natural avoidance of such activities and outcomes be reinforcing our dislike of things that are good for us but difficult to stomach?"

Approaching pleasure and avoiding pain are fundamental human behaviors, but the authors argue that people also subconsciously reverse this relationship: "We tend to infer that something is good based on the bodily sensation of approaching it or bad based on the sensation of avoiding it."

The authors note that psychologists often attempt to cure phobic patients by asking them to mentally simulate approaching the objects they fear. Across three studies the authors demonstrated that it is possible to use this approach to reduce aversion to certain items.

In one study, for example, the researchers offered respondents a can of curried grasshopper (not a terribly popular product among the participants).One group of people was asked to simply evaluate it. A second group was asked to mentally simulate physical avoidance of the product, and a third set was asked to simulate physical approach toward the can. "What was surprising was that merely simulating physical approach resulted in a more favorable evaluation of the product," the authors write.

"One way for us to overcome aversions is to trick our minds," the authors write. "These results suggest our aversions are derived in part from our bodily sensations, and the influence of these sensations may be more far reaching than one might have presumed."


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.


Journal Reference:

  1. Aparna A. Labroo and Jesper Nielsen. Half the Thrill Is in the Chase: Twisted Inferences from Embodied Cognitions. Journal of Consumer Research, June 2010

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Do consumers always approach pleasure and avoid pain? New study suggests an alternative." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091214143734.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2009, December 26). Do consumers always approach pleasure and avoid pain? New study suggests an alternative. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091214143734.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Do consumers always approach pleasure and avoid pain? New study suggests an alternative." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091214143734.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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