Buying Christmas Gifts for Strangers

Hartford York Hats - Christmas Gift Ideas for Men and WomenWell, Psychology Today has done it again – gone and confused me. Now that, you may snidely remark, is not something too hard to do; but I say: look at this headline – Why Our Loved Ones Hate Our Gifts (They Tell Us What They Want, but We Think We Know Better) – and tell me you don’t need a drink.

It seems that marketing experts in Europe have discovered scientific proof that “we’re better at guessing what strangers like than divining what our loved ones desire”.

The findings, which appear in the December issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, are that we tend to

“discount [our partner’s] product-specific information, or interpret that information in terms of our ‘pre-stored beliefs and expectations’ [and that]the only time we are good at guessing what our partners like is when they like the same things we do.”

This, the researchers suggest, is because when predicting what a stranger would like, we are forced to “rely on general and stereotypical information about the stranger, which can be quite diagnostic.”

But when predicting what our loved ones like, we “ignore this valid information” and rely on more intimate information “that is often found to be invalid or irrelevant when predicting product attitudes.”

I don’t care. I’m buying everybody I know a hat. And I suggest you do too.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 14, 2006 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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