Are you a high achiever? Even the best products might leave you dissatisfied

Feb 11, 2014

Make the honor roll, go for the promotion, or try the tastiest entrée on the menu. In almost every facet of our culture, we are told to "go for the gold." So, why settle for "good enough" when "something better" is within reach? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, constantly striving for the best may be magnifying negative feelings like regret and dissatisfaction in other parts of our daily lives.

"We found that individuals who have a 'must have the best' mindset experience more regret and are less satisfied with the products they purchase or consume. They are also more likely to return the items or switch brands entirely," write authors Jingjing Ma and Neal J. Roese (both Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University).

Across seven experiments, the authors examined the impact of what they term the "maximizing mindset" on participants' ability to make decisions when they are feeling or behaving in a certain way. Consumers with a maximizing mindset typically have a tendency to compare and adopt a goal of getting the best, even if it requires them to work harder, search more deeply, and ultimately perform better than their peers.

In one study, participants played a computer game that measured typing speed and were told the response times were a measure of their intelligence levels. Next, participants were asked to select a brand of backpack from a list of five choices and describe the features of their current backpack. The test takers were then given false computer game results that ranked them as either in the top 10% of intelligence level or below average. The researchers found that the participants who received poor test results expressed more regret about their backpack choice than those who fell in the top 10%.

"Our research shows the potential impact of the maximizing mindset on post-purchase regret, customer satisfaction, and brand loyalty, particularly for companies claiming to offer the best available product on the market. We also offer an insight on the impact the maximizing mindset has on our daily lives. Constantly comparing and focusing on getting the best can have a negative effect on our psychological well-being, particularly when we do not get the best," the authors conclude.

Explore further: Poor sleep, fatigue linked to clinical-decision regret in nurses

More information: Jingjing Ma and Neal J. Roese. "The Maximizing Mind-Set." Journal of Consumer Research: June 2014.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exhausted? It's the perfect time to make health decisions

Feb 11, 2014

From keeping up a daily exercise routine to eating healthy foods and avoiding impulse purchases, self-control is hard work. Ironically, when it comes to making decisions about our bodies, a new study in the Journal of Co ...

How do political debates affect advertising?

Sep 14, 2011

Advertisers covet spots during political debates, which often draw large numbers of viewers. But according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, political debate can sometime decrease the effectiveness of sub ...

Increasing personal savings, the 'Groundhog Day' way

Dec 20, 2013

Thinking about time as a cycle of recurring experiences—a reality Bill Murray's character knows all too well in the movie Groundhog Day—may help us to put more money away into our savings, according to new research. The ...

Recommended for you

World population likely to peak by 2070

2 hours ago

World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and ...

Bullying in schools is still prevalent, national report says

3 hours ago

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers ...

Study examines effects of credentialing, personalization

6 hours ago

Chris Gamrat, a doctoral student in learning, design and technology, recently had his study—completed alongside Heather Zimmerman, associate professor of education; Jaclyn Dudek, a doctoral student studying learning, design ...

Data indicate there is no immigration crisis

Oct 22, 2014

Is there an "immigration crisis" on the U.S.-Mexico border? Not according to an examination of historical immigration data, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

User comments : 0