London, Feb 9: Try not to shop when you're down in the dumps as sadness can trigger a chain of emotions leading to extravagance, researchers said. They claim that depression makes us pay four times as much for something as we would when cheerful. Researchers from Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford and Pittsburgh universities showed two teams of volunteers different videos-- one, of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, which was emotionally neutral and the other, a sad clip about the death of a teacher a little boy idolised.
Then they took the test subjects shopping, asking them to make an offer of what they were willing to pay for various items. The group who had watched the sad video offered to pay more than four times as much as the group who'd seen the nature video, says the study. The researchers also asked volunteers to write essays about how they thought a sad situation such as the one in the video would affect them, the Daily Mail reported.
They found that the sadder people were, the more self-focused they became, using 'I', 'me', 'my' and 'myself' much more in their essays, and the more they used those words, the more willing they were to spend money.
The researchers concluded that sadness leads people to become more focused on themselves, causing them to feel that they and their possessions are worth little, hence increasing their willingness to pay more, in an attempt to feel better about themselves.