Dieting can dent a hole in your wallet, for a new research has revealed that people who exercise self control in some way, such as dieting or trying not to look at or think about something, will tend to make more impulse purchases if given the opportunity.
Instead of gauging desire for things, they are the first to measure actual spending patterns after the exertion of self-control, expanding the literature to include the impulse to buy.
For example, the researchers explore the effects of mental self-control in an experiment that asked a group of participants to write down all their thoughts for six minutes. Another group was told that they should also write down all their thoughts – with one exception.
The participants were told that if they thought of "a white bear" they were NOT to write it down, but instead to place a check mark at the side of their paper.
The participants were then told that they were taking place in an unrelated study and given $10 to spend on items from the college bookstore. They were told that whatever unspent money was theirs to keep.
"Overall, the research shows that people need self-regulatory resources to resist impulse buying temptations, and that these resources can be depleted by prior self-control efforts," write the researchers. "As a result, people should avoid shopping on days when they have earlier exercised great self-control or when starting a new self-improvement program, such as a new diet."