Misery loves your money

Sad guy goes shopping to feel better.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: When the world's got you down and you're feeling sad and blue, hang on to your wallet! A study out today says being sad makes people wanna spend money. Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: The study's title sums it up: "Misery is not miserly." Researchers from four universities experimented with two groups of shoppers. The first group watched a very sad movie. The second, a film about the Great Barrier Reef.

The study subjects were given $10. After the movies, they could trade some of the money for an insulated water bottle. The sad subjects offered more than $2. The other group: 56 cents.

The study says sadness makes us devalue our possessions and ourselves. We pay more for new stuff to get back our self-worth.

Clinical psychologist Edward Charlesworth:

Edward Charlesworth: We have been taught that we deserve a break today. And we're inundated with ads that make us feel that we would be happier if we had different things.

The really sad thing is, the study subjects insisted their emotions didn't affect their spending.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...