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Study: misery isn’t miserly — the sad spend more

Daniel Ray

Don’t be shocked if at your next visit to the local cineplex, a credit card company sponsors a triple-feature of “Dr. Zhivago,” “Titanic” and “Old Yeller.” According to a study released Friday, sadness and overspending tend to go hand-in-tissue-clutching-hand.

Misery is Not Miserly: Sad and Self-Focused Individuals Spend More” is the title of the study conducted by researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, Stanford and the University of Pittsburgh.

The researchers paid 33 study participants $10 each, then divided them into “sad” and “neutral” groups, with the “sad” subjects shown a clip from the death of a boy’s mentor from the movie “The Champ.” “Neutral” participants were shown a clip from a National Geographic special on the Great Barrier Reef.

Then, all were asked how much they’d pay for a “sporty, insulated” water bottle. The sad participants’ median price was $2.11, versus just $0.56 from the neutral participants.

The researchers concluded that sad folks “spend more on commodities because they seek self-enhancement.” My theory — that the sad folks cried themselves into a state of thirst — was not considered.

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