The Presenter’s Paradox

December 23, 2011

According to the Journal of Consumer Research, choosing to give extra small gifts can actually diminish the value of the more valuable present you bought… in the eyes of the receiver that is.  A research team from Virginia Tech and the University of Michigan dubs this the “presenter’s paradox”.

To test the paradox, the research team conducted seven studies.  In one, a group of consumers was given the choice between an iPod Touch or an iPod Touch plus a free song download. The consumers were willing to pay, on average, $108.41 for the iPod Touch but only $86.16 for the iPod Touch and the download, TIME reports. As the study authors explain, the free song download enhanced the value in the eyes of the presenter, while cheapening the perceived value in the eyes of the consumer.

According to The Globe and Mail, another study revealed that participants perceived a $750 fine for littering as a greater penalty than a $750 fine plus two hours of community service. Lead study author Kimberlee Weaver, an assistant professor of marketing at Virginia Tech, says the addition of community service softens the impact of the fine.

Coauthor Stephen Garcia explains:

 “The addition of mildly favorable information dilutes the impact of highly favorable information in the eyes of evaluators. Hence, presenters of information would be better off if they limited their presentation to their most favorable information — just as gift givers would be better off to limit their present to their most favorite gift.”

The full study can be found here.


Fitness vs. Fatness: Which is more important?

December 13, 2011

In the battle of fitness versus fatness, which would come out on top? A new study finds that when it comes to longevity, how fit you are may be more important than your weight.

Published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the study followed 14,358 middle-aged men over a period of 11.4 years. The participants that were the most fit (determined based on measurements of aerobic intensity on a treadmill) had a lower overall risk of death or dying from cardiovascular disease during the follow up period.

According to TIME, the men who maintained their fitness levels from the outset of the study lowered their risk of death by up to 30 percent compared to those who became less fit. The results were even better for those who improved their fitness, lowering their risk of death by up to 44 percent. For every unit of  improvement in fitness, there was a 15 percent decrease in death from any cause and a 19 percent decrease in death due to a heart related event.

The researchers found there was no association between changes in BMI and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, reports The Washington Post.  Participants who lost fitness over the course of the study period were found to be at increased risk of death, despite any changes in their BMI.

For those wondering if how much we weigh is dependent upon how fit we are, lead study author, Duck-Chul Lee, tells TIME:

 “When you change your body weight, you have to consider whether you become more fit or not…If you gain weight, but become more fit, then that might be okay regarding your mortality risk. We have to start considering other factors when we talk about weight change and health outcomes.”

The researchers note that further research is necessary in order to determine if these findings would apply to women and those that are obese. 90 percent of the men in this study were either of normal weight or overweight at the start of the study.


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