The experts were able to identify the main reason for joy when you receive a surprise.
An important component of social communication are gifts. In content they can be divided into utilitarian (practical) and sentimental.
It is assumed that the first is more versatile and if the individual preferences of the recipient are preferred. Emotional gifts, in turn, are not applicable in everyday life, however, can also have a high subjective significance. Despite the fact that theoretically these categories of items allow comparison and mutual replacement, often their use is correlated negatively. So, people who choose practical gifts that are less prone to emotional and Vice versa. The authors of the new work found out why.
For this, the researchers conducted three experiments. In the first stage, respondents were divided into two groups. According to legend, they had to choose a gift for yourself or a real friend on the occasion of birthday or departure: a poster with a photo of your favorite musician (utilitarian) or small picture taken during the party (sentimental). They then evaluated the social intimacy with a man. As expected, participants who chose a gift for a friend, much more often (63.2 percent) preferred practical thing, then, as the recipients birthday was counting on subjectively meaningful (at 78.8% of cases). In the case of departure, the trend continued, but this time, a sentimental gift would be more relevant.
The researchers suggested that the decision on the selection of a particular gift may be associated with avoidant behavior. To test the hypothesis, they asked of the same subjects to describe the cases when they took a risk and failed or succeeded. After that, each volunteer was presented a picture in which he is depicted together with a childhood friend on the red bike. According to the scenario, they had to choose a gift for a friend’s birthday: white bike for adults the same manufacturer (utilitarian) or red — another company, but externally is identical to that shown. The results showed that respondents that recalled a positive experience of risk, were more likely to be called sentimental gift.
In the third stage, the scientists involved romantic partners. One of them chose a gift to another sentimental item or a gift certificate for $ 25 to a favorite store. The procedure is then repeated with the recipient. As in the first experiment, the first subject preferred to subjectively significant object significantly less often than expected second.
According to the authors, the findings confirm that people tend to exaggerate the benefits of utilitarian offerings. The effect may be due to uncertainty about the preferences of the gift recipient.
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