Photographed by Anna Alexia Basile.
We tend to think of "retail therapy" as more of a punch line than a real, measurable phenomenon. In fact, a recent University of Michigan study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology (read the entire paper here) found that many people were twice as likely to associate the term with negative words like "nonsense" or "debt" rather than a positive one. However, the same study proved that when you're shopping while feeling sort of bummed, the act of choosing what to buy temporarily makes you less sad. Interestingly, just window-shopping, however, doesn't affect your emotions at all. Instead, it's the act of selecting items with the intention to buy them that really makes the difference.
Of course, that lift in mood is temporary, and the study acknowledges that the sense of control experienced by consumers in the moment of shopping very well may result in feeling less in control later. (You know, that sinking feeling of sitting in front of a pile of receipts and bills wearing a brand-new dress you can't afford.) Visit The Huffington Post to read about other studies that tie shopping with emotions, and then click here and scroll to the end to see the products the subjects had to choose from. We don't know about anyone else, but that marble cheese board looks like it's awfully sad-banishing… (The Huffington Post)