I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t dabble in Black Friday savings, because I do.
And I damn well enjoy it.
Who doesn’t find satisfaction in saving significant amounts of money on something you’ve been eyeing for a while?
An article from Folio explains what it is about Black Friday deals that feels so great, and personally, I appreciate this insight.
Anna Taylor, an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and researcher in the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute at the University of Alberta has revealed that “finding deals in stores and online triggers brain chemistry—designed to keep us alive—to make us feel good,” the article states.
Essentially, a reward pushes us towards goals that assist with survival or reproduction, whereas cues are situations that can foresee an upcoming reward, Taylor says in the article.
“For example, spotting the McDonald’s golden arches is a cue that is predicting the tasty reward of eating a cheeseburger.”
Rewards and their affiliated cues allow for a dopamine, a neurotransmitter, to be released in the brain. Dopamine, a chemical messenger that sends messages to the body to respond, motivates a person when released. The human body is designed to recognize and achieve these rewards “because it’s a biological survival instinct,” Taylor says in the article.
Hence the anticipation of Black Friday, Taylor explains. “When we see a pair of shoes we like, dopamine is released—and if we realize the shoes are on sale, our dopamine levels surge, working within the larger reward system of circuits and neurotransmitters to create a good feeling.”
“The more we shop, dopamine is released more with cues in the environment that remind us of shopping―think the mall parking lot or the sale flyers―and less with the actual reward of when you make the purchase,” says Taylor in the article.
The release of dopamine in the body is not harmful, however, Taylor warns of the shift that can occur in the brain.
“What may have started as a goal-directed, thoughtful behaviour can quickly change to a habit-driven, impulsive behaviour. This is what we call an addiction,” Taylor says.
Interesting stuff, folks, interesting stuff.
Be sure to check out the full article, linked above. It’s quite interesting.
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