Seize the day! New research helps tightwads 'live a little'

Sep 15, 2008

Some people have trouble indulging, and they regret it later. There's hope for those people, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

While many people have no trouble treating themselves to luxury items or relaxing vacations, others have trouble spending on anything they don't perceive is a necessity. Those people are called "hyperopic," because they focus so much on the future they don't see the present. Authors Kelly L. Haws (Texas A&M University) and Cait Poynor (University of Pittsburgh) took a close look at hyperopia and found that, contrary to what's commonly thought, hyperopia is distinct from self-control.

"Past research characterizes behavior as hyperopic if it involves the choice of a restrictive or necessity option over an indulgent but potentially life-enriching choice," explain the authors. "For example, a consumer might choose to study rather than go on a trip with friends over spring break or might use a windfall to pay bills rather than to provide themselves with personally rewarding experiences."

The researchers conducted three studies on hyperopia. First, they measured hyperopia and self-control and found that the two did not necessarily correlate. After identifying levels of hyperopia and self-control, participants rated products according to whether they thought they were luxuries or necessities. People with high hyperopic ratings thought more products were luxuries than other participants.

In the next study, participants were asked to consider an "indulgence goal"—like focusing on enjoying their lives more. In a third study, participants viewed different BMW ads—some abstract and some concrete in the product description. They were asked about the likelihood of purchasing the product and their perceptions of the product as a long-term investment. High hyperopics were not more likely overall to see the BMW as an investment, but the more abstract ad inspired more of them to do so, and inspired some of them to say they intended to buy it.

Understanding hyperopia can help marketers reach tough customers. "In addition to possibly undermining their own happiness, hyperopic consumers constitute a substantial barrier for luxury goods marketers," the authors conclude.

Source: University of Chicago

Explore further: Best of Last Week—Confirmed Earth-sized planet, testing twin paradox w/o a spaceship and news we all peak at 24

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Zynga founder Pincus leaving operations role

10 hours ago

Online game maker Zynga says company founder Mark Pincus is stepping down as chief product officer, less than a year after he was replaced as the company's CEO.

First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

10 hours ago

A NASA scientist is launching a one-to-two-year pilot project this summer that takes advantage of U.S. high-voltage power transmission lines to measure a phenomenon that has caused widespread power outages ...

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

11 hours ago

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.

Recommended for you

Not just the poor live hand-to-mouth

11 hours ago

When the economy hits the skids, government stimulus checks to the poor sometimes follow. Stimulus programs—such as those in 2001, 2008 and 2009—are designed to boost the economy quickly by getting cash ...

Math modeling handbook now available

14 hours ago

Math comes in handy for answering questions about a variety of topics, from calculating the cost-effectiveness of fuel sources and determining the best regions to build high-speed rail to predicting the spread ...

Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

14 hours ago

Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location.

Male-biased tweeting

16 hours ago

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Developing nations ride a motorcycle boom

18 hours ago

Asia's rapidly developing economies should prepare for a full-throttle increase in motorcycle numbers as average incomes increase, a new study from The Australian National University has found.

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Truth
1 / 5 (1) Sep 15, 2008
This site's quality rating is measurably reduced by the animated commercial ads that run while you're trying to read the damn article. How degrading to science when a knowledge-seeking young student is bombarded with "BUY A TOYOTA NOW!!!" animated junk while trying to read about important physics and social issues. So very sad.
WillB
not rated yet Sep 16, 2008
They need to make money. And it's not that bad. Just ignore it.
Crossrip
not rated yet Sep 16, 2008
But do you want to "buy a Toyaota now" after seeing the ad?
Bob_Kob
not rated yet Sep 16, 2008
I SURRENDER TO THE TOYOTA

More news stories

Male-biased tweeting

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Not just the poor live hand-to-mouth

When the economy hits the skids, government stimulus checks to the poor sometimes follow. Stimulus programs—such as those in 2001, 2008 and 2009—are designed to boost the economy quickly by getting cash ...

Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location.