Stanford Studies Show Getting Ripped-Off is Healthy

Companies charge us more out of the kindness of their hearts, new Stanford Graduate School of Business (SGSB) study shows.

In each of three different studies, participants were given energy drinks that supposedly make consumers feel more alert and energetic. Some participants paid full price for the drinks; others were offered them at discounted prices. The participants were then asked to solve a series of word puzzles. In all three studies, the people who paid discounted prices consistently solved fewer puzzles than the people who paid full price for the drinks.

So when Grandma has to eat canned cat food ’cause the HMO’s are bending her over the Formica, at least she can take comfort in knowing that her mind is causing her medication to work to its fullest effect.

Were these studies run with a control group? That is, the results compared with identical studies run by a group of researchers whose future livelihoods don
t depend on bloating profit margins?

Paying higher prices isn
t just patriotic—it
s better for you.

You Really Do Get What You Pay For [Stanford Graduate School of Business via Consumerworld]


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  1. Karmakin says:

    I think this says something more about consumers themselves, than it does about the companies. Mainly that some people tend to associate value or effectiveness with price. As someone who’s lived both in the US and Canada, I can tell you that it’s much more widespread south of the border than it is north. I’m a cheapskate when I can be..the number of times that I’ve picked something up at the local Dollar Tree and have had people say..that’s only a buck, that’s not going to work, then it works fine for my needs…I can’t really count, except that it seemed to happen every time.

  2. AcidReign says:

    …..Seconded! I have to say that I’ve never tried an energy drink, other than coffee. I’d hate to get hooked on something that’s $2.00 a can! In my local Sam’s Club, Red Bull is about $32 a case, and right next to it are cases of soft drink at 2 for 5$, and the Red Bull cans are smaller… Not a hard choice!

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Did they test the new energy-TAB?

  4. SamC says:

    How about Steven Segal’s energy drink “Lightning”? Or Nelly’s “Pimp Juice”?

  5. etinterrapax says:

    I agree; this has something to do with the customer’s attitude. The notion that you get what you pay for doesn’t seem to be as well entrenched in my home region than I thought it was when I moved elsewhere (I’d say from where to where, but I’m already acknowledging that this is *my* experience; no need to start up regional partisanship to try to prove I’m wrong). Thrift, whether that means getting more for less or getting less for less, is a core value in this local culture. But if you really believe that the less you pay for something, the less it’s worth, you’re not going to believe in its worth if you didn’t pay as much for it as someone else did. That the study is based on intellectual performance, to a degree, speaks to this flaw in the logic.

  6. The Unicorn says:

    What *I* want to know is if there were incentives given to people who performed better on the puzzles. I know that that’s pretty common at those consumer-research types of things — so maybe the people who paid more for the energy drink had more of an incentive to try & recoup their money?

    That may be a little far-fetched, but it was the first thing I thought of.