When giving gifts, the price is wrong | Science News


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When giving gifts, the price is wrong

People are mistaken when they expect that the more they spend on gifts, the more those gifts will be appreciated

4:40pm, December 8, 2008

It’s enough to give pause to any financially strapped Santa Claus, and perhaps elicit his applause. Don’t worry about cutting back on holiday gift spending during hard times for fear of disappointing others, at least if they’re grown-ups. People appreciate receiving modestly priced gifts as much as they do expensive ones, although gift givers typically don’t realize it, a new study indicates.

For as yet unclear reasons, gift givers are frequently unable to use their own experience as gift receivers to identify especially meaningful gifts for friends and loved ones, says Stanford University professor of organizational behavior Francis Flynn.

“People assume that the more they spend on presents, the more those presents will be appreciated, but we find that that’s not the case,” Flynn says. This result raises the intriguing implication that lavish gifts are often viewed by their recipients as ostentatious gestures rather than ge

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