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Shoppers in High Heels Make Better Choices, Study Shows

To splurge or not to splurge.

While others might urge you to sleep on a big purchase, researchers at Brigham Young University are encouraging you stand on it -- preferably with one leg.

In a new study featured in the most recent issue of the Journal of Marketing Research, authors Jeffry Larson and Darron Billeter of the Marriot School of Management looked at the relationship between physical sensation and cognitive decision-making. Similar to previous studies that had tested the effects of temperature, weight, and hunger, this BYU team looked at the way physical balance effected consumer behavior.

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In this study, subjects were asked to perform such tasks as leaning back in a chair while shopping online, playing a Wii Fit game while answering questions about their product choices, and standing on one foot while deciding which printer to buy. The results concluded that cognitive processes are indeed influenced by the literal and figurative instabilities of daily life, and that those with a better sense of balance on a physical level had a subsequently better sense of balance on a spending level.

As Larson explained, "If you're someone who tends to overspend, or you're kind of an extreme person, then maybe you ought to consider shopping in high heels."

This is due to the fact that the shoes are causing your brain to focus on balance, thereby causing your consumer choices to follow suit. Other ways of recreating this sense of balance include shopping in places with unsteady footing such as a cruise ship or icy sidewalk, or simply engaging in some light pre-shopping yoga.

Finally, we can put an end to our over-the top spending.

Just as soon as we find the right pair of heels.

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Katie Johnson
Contact: Katie Johnson