TUESDAY, July 19, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- People who are happy or have a positive attitude while shopping are able to decide what they like or don't like more quickly and consistently, new research shows.
In conducting the study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers changed people's moods by showing them pictures of either likable subjects (puppies) or unpleasant things (diseased feet) or asking them to recall pleasant or unpleasant memories. Then, the participants were shown pictures of common objects. After viewing these objects one at a time, they described each of them with a positive or negative adjective selected from a random list.
"Our prior research found that people respond faster to positive adjectives than negative adjectives," the study's authors wrote. "The present work finds that this difference disappeared for people in the positive affect conditions."
The researchers noted the participants in a positive frame of mind not only responded more quickly to all adjectives, but they also were more consistent in their decisions and did not tend to change their minds.
"These results have implications for how we navigate our world," the researchers wrote. "The decisions we make about liking or disliking objects around us are fundamental to which things we approach and which things we avoid."
The study concluded that to create ideal shopping conditions, retailers may want to be aware of factors that can exacerbate bad moods among shoppers, such as abrasive salespeople. They also noted their findings may help retailers understand consumer responses to new products in which buyers' first impression is essential to their success.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides more information on the brain and moods.