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For Saner Shopping: Wear High Heels

You’re more likely to spend sensibly if you’re wearing high heelsSeriously, a new study from marketing professors at Utah’s Brigham Young University found that when shopping for such pricey items as a new television, you’re more likely to spend sensibly if you’re wearing high heels. They theorized that anything that forces your mind to focus on keeping your body in equilibrium affects your shopping choices as well. For their study, the researchers set up experiments that caused consumers to factor balance into their shopping. In one experiment, online shoppers were asked to lean back in a chair, others were asked to play a Wii Fit game while answering questions about product choices or to stand on one foot while pondering which printer to purchase. The idea behind the study was to help consumers better understand what they really want while shopping. "We need to sit back for a minute and consider, 'Is this really what I want, or are the shoes I'm wearing influencing my choice?' We need to be more aware of what is influencing our choices," said study co-author Darron Billeter, Ph.D., in a press release that accompanied publication of the study in the August 2013 issue of the Journal of Marketing Research. The investigation is part of an emerging area of research that examines the relationship between physical sensations and decision-making. Previous studies have looked at the role of ambient temperature and hunger on shopping choices.

Jeffrey S. Larson, Darron M. Billeter. “Consumer Behavior in ‘Equilibrium’: How Experiencing Physical Balance Increases Compromise Choice”. Journal of Marketing Research, 2013; 50 (4): 535 DOI: 10.1509/jmr.11.0455