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Description: Think for a moment about what a Psychology of gift-giving might involve and include. No, there is no Psychology of Gift-Giving research journal but there has been a fair bit of relevant thought and research directed towards gift-giving. What might it involve? Perhaps questions like, what makes for a good (appreciated) gift? or what makes for a bad (unappreciated) gift? Or how about, is there a relationship between what are good gifts and what are bombastically advertised this time of year? So, if this interests you at all, think for a few moments about what a psychology of gift-giving might or should include and then have a read through the article linked below that asks that very question.

Source: Unpacking the Psychology of Gift-Giving, Kate Murphy, The New York Times

Date: November 18, 2022

Image by anaterate from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/18/style/holiday-best-gift-stress.html

Well, OK, there was not a lot of research discussed in the article. However, there were some core psychological constructs examined in relation to gift-giving. One might say that in these times of social media and broad access to information about the world and those around us (or not so close to), that an important corrective is to see the value in perspective-taking skill in effective gift-giving AND in positive relationship engagements and, perhaps, in getting along better with our neighbors (even if their politics differ from ours). Or maybe it will just make us better gift-givers, which would not be a bad thing, would it?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sorts of things make for not so good or even bad gifts?
  2. What sorts of things make for good or ‘likely to be well received and appreciated’ gifts?
  3. What sorts of research could/should be done (by researchers or by you on a smaller scale) to improve gift selection and giving?

References (Read Further):

Givi, Julian (2022) The 4 biggest gift-giving mistakes, according to a consumer psychologist. The Conversation. Link

Galak, J., Givi, J., & Williams, E. F. (2016). Why certain gifts are great to give but not to get: A framework for understanding errors in gift giving. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(6), 380-385. Link

Givi, J., & Galak, J. (2019). Keeping the Joneses from getting ahead in the first place: Envy’s influence on gift giving behavior. Journal of Business Research, 101, 375-388. Link

Givi, J. (2021). When a gift exchange isn’t an exchange: Why gift givers underestimate how uncomfortable recipients feel receiving a gift without reciprocating. Journal of Business Research, 129, 393-405. Link

Givi, J., Williams, E., Chen, N., Petersen, F. E., Lowrey, T., Ganesh Pillai, R., … & Weinberger, M. (2021). The Multifaceted Nature of Gift-Giving: Spanning Multiple Perspectives, Motives, Orientations, and Stages. ACR North American Advances. Link

Givi, J., Galak, J., & Olivola, C. (2017). Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd: Givers’ Oversensitivity to Other Givers’ Gifts. ACR North American Advances. Link