It can sometimes be a daunting task to find the perfect gift for someone. We’ve all been there, wondering to ourselves, “Will they like this?” while standing in the checkout line.
Plus, when you’re trying to give gifts on a budget, it can often feel like you just don’t have enough money to spend on “stuff” you think people will love.
So researchers from Carnegie Mellon University set out to conduct a study to really understand whether those receiving gifts are truly getting what they want.
And the answer is no, they’re typically not.
The study shows that when given the choice, those receiving gifts prefer something that is more sentimental—such as a framed photo or personalized wall decor, for example—over being gifted something more along the lines of superficial—such as a shirt from their favorite store.
The research found that most people aren’t sure whether something they give that has sentimental value would be appreciated and valued, but find themselves feeling confident that a more superficial gift that aligns with the recipients interests is a safer bet.
“Essentially, givers seem to view sentimentally valuable gifts as having the potential to be either home runs or strikeouts, but they view preference-matching gifts as a sure single,” says Julian Givi, lead author of the study. “Rather than risking a strikeout, they go for the sure thing, when what recipients truly desire are sentimentally valuable gifts.”
So basically, through multiple experiments within this study, researchers confirm that people should be giving more sentimentally valuable gifts.
“People spend billions of dollars every year on gifts, and the data suggests that they’re not spending money in the best way possible,” Givi told Science Daily. “We are also finding evidence in a different project that people feel closer to givers when they receive sentimental gifts, so people should keep this in mind the next time they’re making gift-giving decisions.”
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