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Can Guilt Make You Happy?

Guilt and pleasure

The connection between guilt and pleasure could be powerful for marketers. Appealing to a negative attribute that is connected to pleasure can be more effective at persuading people than directly talking about positive attributes.

We may think our choices are rational, but the things we think or feel in the moment affect our preferences. In a study, giving respondents a choice of donating $5 to charity or using it for a Starbucks espresso drink, the likelihood and amount of donations increased, compared to a second group who had to choose between a charitable donation and a $5 laundry detergent.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Can Guilt Make You Happy?

Can Guilt Make You Happy?

https://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/can-guilt-make-you-happy

insights.som.yale.edu

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Key Ideas

Doing something you shouldn't

Guilt is considered to be a negative emotion - a sense that you've done something wrong.

But, there is a special kind of enjoyment that comes from doing something you shouldn't do. For example, eating a forbidden chocolate bar can boost pleasure.

Guilt and pleasure

The connection between guilt and pleasure could be powerful for marketers. Appealing to a negative attribute that is connected to pleasure can be more effective at persuading people than directly talking about positive attributes.

We may think our choices are rational, but the things we think or feel in the moment affect our preferences. In a study, giving respondents a choice of donating $5 to charity or using it for a Starbucks espresso drink, the likelihood and amount of donations increased, compared to a second group who had to choose between a charitable donation and a $5 laundry detergent.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Shame

Shame is a universal experience. Shame enforces adherence to beneficial social norms.

Shaming is a tool and can be used for good or evil. We should use it when the outcome has a great...

Guilt vs shame

Guilt is a private feeling of regret about something you did, and the discomfort leads to self-regulation regardless of exposure.

Shaming is about the possibility of being exposed to an audience.

Effective shaming

Shaming can give the weak greater power. It can be used as a tool to encourage structural changes of institutions, organizations, and powerful individuals by exposing a transgressor to public disapproval.

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Ego Depletion
Ego Depletion

Ego depletion happens when people use up their available willpower on one task.

We all have natural urges, desires, and tendencies that demand attention. When we curb those ...

Self Control

People having a high level of self-control experience better relationships and have higher achievement levels. Lack of self-control is associated with social conflict and low-grade academic performance.

Example: While following a diet regime, a person spends a lot of willpower the whole day trying to avoid junk food, but by the end of the day, all his mental energy has been exhausted, and there is no self-control left, resulting in snacking on unhealthy food.

Causes of Ego Depletion

Many emotional and physical factors contribute to ego depletion, like:

  • Emotional distress
  • Struggling to learn something new
  • Mental fatigue due to anxiety
  • Low levels of blood sugar
  • Too much choice
  • Conflicting beliefs and actions (cognitive dissonance)
  • Heart Rate
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Being young and immature.

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The decoy effect
The decoy effect

It happens when consumers change their preference between two options when presented with a third option, or decoy.

The decoy is priced to make one of the other options much more attra...

How decoys work

When consumers are faced with many alternatives, they often experience choice overload that increases anxiety and hinders decision-making.

Consumers try to reduce this anxiety by selecting only a couple of criteria (say price and quantity) to determine the best value for money.

A decoy steers you in a particular direction while giving you the impression that you are making a rational, informed choice.

Decoy example in the market

Consider the price of drinks at a well-known juice bar: a small (350 ml) size costs $6.10; the medium (450 ml) $7.10; and the large (610 ml) $7.50. The medium is a slightly better value than the small, and the large better still. The medium is designed to be the decoy, steering you to see the biggest drink as the best value for money.

If you buy the biggest, was it because you made a sensible choice, or have you been manipulated to opt for bigger than intended?