Call it what you will — buyer’s remorse, food envy or not being able to get no satisfaction — sometimes we order or buy one thing and just can’t get over the feeling that we missed out on something else. A new study say that dissatisfaction can flavor our experience of whatever we’ve just purchased, and the way to enjoy what we buy is to simply get some closure.
A study in the Journal of Consumer Research out of the University of Chicago says performing physical acts like closing a menu after we’ve ordered or even shutting the lid after we’ve picked out a chocolate from a wide selection can give us that sense of closure. In other words, it’s a job well done if you shut down the possibility of going back to change your mind.
“Choice closure, the psychological process through which consumers perceive a decision as complete and stop reassessing their choice, can increase satisfaction with decisions involving many alternatives. Subtle physical acts that symbolize closure can trigger choice closure and increase satisfaction,” write the study’s authors.
Revisiting your decision and pondering other options after you’ve made your choice can lower satisfaction, says the study, especially if you’ve had to make a particularly grueling or tough choice on where to spend your money.
The authors came to this association after having participants in the study choose from a large selection of things like chocolates, teas and other morsels, and then either close something after the choice or not. In one study involving a choice of 24 chocolates, those who put a lid back on the tray before eating their chosen candy liked what they ate more than those who didn’t put the lid back on.
It’s all about the physical act of closure so you simply can’t compare options — which could extend to something like closing your menu after ordering dinner, or even shutting down your computer and walking away after ordering something online.
If only there were a box for former boyfriends to go into with a nice, tight lid. With air holes, of course.