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Description: Food shopping when hungry leads to more food buying (no surprise there) but doing ANY type of shopping when hungry may well lead to more buying.

Source: Health Day (US news)

Date: February 20, 2015

HD696547shopping1 photo from the Us New Article Online

Links:     Article Link – http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/02/20/hungry-in-the-department-store-your-spending-may-rise

I suspect you have heard that people who go to the grocery store when they are hungry end up buying more food. While this may not be a surprise a recent study conducted by Alison Jing Xu Norbert Schwarz and Robert Wyer Jr suggests we should avoid all kinds of shopping if we are hungry if we want to save our money. The researchers conducted 5 studies, 4 laboratory simulations and one real-world study and were able to clearly show that people were more inclined to buy anything (to shop) when they were hungry. Their 5th study, the real-world one, was the most telling. In the fifth study people were stopped as they exited a department store that did not sell food and were first asked how hungry they felt. They were then asked to show their sales receipts indicating how much money they had spent in the store. The main finding was that the hungrier people said they were the more they had bought and the more they had spent in the department store. Why might that be?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Describe the research methods used in each of the 5 studies these researchers conducted and explain how each looked at (operationalized) hunger and spending (shopping).
  2. Are there other factors that the researchers might have addressed in designing their studies?
  3. What advice might you give to consumers and to the retail industry based on the results of these studies?

References (Read Further):

Xu, A. J., Schwarz, N., & Wyer, R. S. (2015). Hunger promotes acquisition of nonfood objects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201417712.

Dietz, Thomas (2015) Understanding environmentally significant consumption PNAS 2014 111 (14) 5067 – 5068 ; published ahead of print March 25, 2014, doi:10.1073/pnas.1403169111

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