"Don't Think Before You Buy"

16 February 2009

http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/7112/619269fb7fec4d098147e2fbj0.jpgA recent study on consumer decision making says that you should go with your gut instinct when buying stuff. Those who don't increase their chances of making inaccurate judgments.

Authors Loran F. Nordgren and Ap Dijksterhuis concluded from a five part study of preference consistency vs deliberation found that those who spent more time making a decision made less accurate judgments than those who went with their gut instincts:

"Whether evaluating abstract objects (Chinese ideograms) or actual consumer items (paintings, apartments, and jellybeans), people who deliberated on their preferences were less consistent than those who made non-deliberative judgments."

The study also claims that the more complex the decision, the more likely those that deliberated would would make a worse choice. As a conclusion, they advised to beware of rogue salesmen using weighed deliberation tactics to bias your decision making process through deliberation.

But my gut instinct is: I don't trust this research.

This advice highly contrasts with my previous advice on 4 resolutions to save money & change spending habits. I still plan to research the hell out of everything before I buy, as long as it makes sense from a cost / hour perspective. But I'd like to hear the logic on both sides of the argument. :)

[University of Chicago] Paper: Loran F. Nordgren and Ap Dijksterhuis. "The Devil Is in the Deliberation: Thinking too Much Reduces Preference Consistency." Journal of Consumer Research: June 2009.


  • Martin
    Why is consistency good? If you consistently pick bad products, surely thinking first and reducing that consistency is a good thing.
  • Kevan
    You want consistency in buying habits? Just take a look at eBay. The amount of times I've found items on there that are far and away above the price of the item in an ordinary shop is simply crazy. Are these dedicated eBay shoppers/auction bidders stupid or just plain dumb? Don't any of them think about checking the item elsewhere before they make that ridiculously high bid for it? No wonder eBay is the place to make money.... no wonder Woolworths went bust. Maybe if they'd tried selling on eBay?
  • Anthony
    would be interested to see who funded this research.... tesco or primark ?

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