Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Distorting the past: Why do impulsive consumers forget their past indulgences?

Date:
June 25, 2014
Source:
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.
Summary:
Activities like dieting, saving money, and studying require goal setting and self-control. But even the most disciplined person falls prey to temptation every once in a while. According to a new study, people who distort past memories of their indulgences are more likely to indulge in the future.

Activities like dieting, saving money, and studying require goal setting and self-control. But even the most disciplined person falls prey to temptation every once in a while. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, people who distort past memories of their indulgences are more likely to indulge in the future.

"We investigated the possibility that individuals may distort memories of past behavior in order to allow for indulgence in the present. In other words, people may trick themselves into thinking something like, 'I've been good on my diet lately, so I can have this piece of cake,'" write authors Frank May (Virginia Tech) and Caglar Irmak (University of Miami).

Across four studies involving eating, spending, and studying, the authors found that people distort their memories of past indulgences when faced with an opportunity to indulge. This, in turn, leads to greater levels of indulgence. In one study, the authors gave participants candy and allowed thirty minutes to pass. A bag of M&Ms was then placed in front of some participants, but not others. When asked to estimate how many calories were in the candy consumed at the beginning of the study, participants who had consumed M&Ms gave a lower calorie estimate than those who had not consumed the M&Ms. When the opportunity to indulge was not present (the M&Ms were removed), all participants gave a similar calorie estimate.

This information can help banks, health clubs, and companies looking to maximize customer behavior and the choices people make on a day-to-day basis. For example, gym managers might send out emails reminding people how long it has been since their last workout -- encouraging impulsive people to come in to exercise and ultimately increase their satisfaction with their gym membership.

People who know they are highly impulsive might want to take steps to accurately remember both past indulgences and moments of self-control (by keeping a detailed journal, for example). "Having this information available can help a person both avoid a poor decision in the face of temptation and ensure that their past self-control behavior does not appear to be more significant than it actually was," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Frank May and Caglar Irmak. Licensing Indulgence in the Present by Distorting Memories of Past Behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, October 2014

Cite This Page:

Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. "Distorting the past: Why do impulsive consumers forget their past indulgences?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625132116.htm>.
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. (2014, June 25). Distorting the past: Why do impulsive consumers forget their past indulgences?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625132116.htm
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. "Distorting the past: Why do impulsive consumers forget their past indulgences?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625132116.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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