Playing Hard-to-get May Be Effective

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CHICAGO, Aug. 10 (UPI) — Things that are hard to get, dates or products stuck at the back of the shelf, are more attractive than what is more easily attainable, U.S. researchers say.

Study authors Sarah Kim and Aparna A. Labroo, both University of Chicago, had heterosexual males classify themselves as either “shy gawkers” or “smooth talkers.”

The study participants were presented with a picture of a potential date that was either clear or blurred slightly — by 15 percent.

“The shy gawkers behaved as one might expect, evaluating the date more favorably when they viewed the clear rather than the blurry picture,” Kim and Labroo says in a statement. “However, quite surprisingly, the smooth talkers found the date more attractive when the picture was slightly blurry rather than clear.”

The authors found similar results with participants who classified themselves as “smart shoppers.” They indicated a higher preferences for products that were sold across town — even when they were available in a nearby store, the study says.

“The relationship between effort and value is so closely associated in a consumer’s mind that wanting the best outcomes automatically results in increased preference for any outcome associated with effort, even pointless effort,” the study authors say in a statement.

However, the study, scheduled to be published in the December issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, says when researchers directed people’s attention to the pointless nature of their efforts, the study subjects no longer valued the outcomes associated with the pointless effort.

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