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​Splashing the cash? Jealousy can spur you on to buy more flashier purchases

Published on: 16-Jan-2017

Seeing a romantic partner flirting with someone else or paying an attractive co-worker too much attention sparks an exaggerated retail reaction rather than anger or revenge, it seems.

A study by experts discovered those hit by jealousy turn to consumerism to satisfy the green-eyed monster.

In particular, they will upgrade their usual choices for clothes, gadgets or other products with something a little more eye-catching, said the university research.

This can include a brightly-coloured jacket rather than a plain one or a lamp in gold rather than ordinary chrome, said professor Xun Huang of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University.

It stems from a sudden desire to be noticed by the ones you love, she told the Journal of Consumer Psychology after a series of experiments involving groups of pairs of volunteers.

The individuals were asked to imagine they were in a series of everyday situations from a work event to a fancy dress party with a partner.

Some were given a situation where their partner was said to be flirting to create a feeling of jealousy.

Then they were asked to choose various items to buy from a list - from plain to flash, ordinary to ornate - including clothes, office accessories and other products.

Those identified as experiencing feelings of jealousy were more likely to choose the eye grabbing products, particularly if being bought for a party or where they could be seen in public.

For instance, the jealous volunteers would choose a gold lamp for their office where others would see it but not for the home where it would be more private.

They would also choose flashier sunglasses, t shirts with bigger, bolder designs and more colourful jackets or coats.

The findings may equally apply to other situations of jealousy from workmates jealous of colleagues to children envious of their siblings.

Professor Huang said: "We believe that this effect is not just restricted to jealousy in romantic relationships.

"Children can be jealous of a sibling's relationship with their parents, or workers might be jealous of a colleague's close relationship with a supervisor."

And advertisers and marketers could use this factor in creating displays, promotions or ads that cashes in on the change in retail habits caused by jealousy, said Professor Huang.​

Source: ​​​​Express (UK), 16 January 2017​

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