Why We Shop: The Neuropsychology of Consumption

shopping...not always fun

shopping…not always fun?

Medscape Psychiatry  Bret S. Stetka, MD, Kit Yarrow, PhD, Disclosures, November 22, 2013

Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow, PhD just finished a new book, Decoding the New Consumer Mindon the neuropsychologic influences associated with shopping. Here are some extracts of the interview he gave to Medscape which appear interesting from a hypnotherapeutic point of view: 

“The motivation for almost everything we buy has something to do with connecting with other human beings…increases in anxiety, societal anger, individualism, and loneliness. I’m not classifying them as pathologies, but more just shifts toward negative psychological states…people use shopping as a way to connect with other people. For example, our use of technology has turned us into speed demons when it comes to processing information. We want it fast and therefore rely more on symbols and visual data to inform our perceptions. We also look for symbols to understand other people — what people are wearing, what they own, and what brands they attach to are shorthand ways of understanding and communicating with other people…I also see a lot of people using shopping as a way of calming their anxiety… As people go through the process of selecting products, they are mentally visualizing their new future. In a way, it’s like runners and athletes who use visualization to enhance their performance…I do think that there are a lot of people who rely on the dopamine rush that comes with finding a bargain or something special as a way to add a little bit of oomph to their life…retailers are really knowledgeable about how we process symbols, everything from colors to particular words. They use smells. They use music. They know that when people touch things, they’re more likely to buy them. They know that things located in the center of a display are more likely to be purchased…”

To read the complete interview at Medscape News please click here.

Hypnotherapy can contribute to lower or even eliminate symptoms such as anxiety, anger and a perception of loneliness. With the help of hypnosis we may learn ways to control our inner mind, choosing thoughts and beliefs which we know to be true over exaggerated, catastrophising negative ones. In a hypnotic state we may design the mental visualisations that are useful to us at a particular point in our lives. We can learn to include all levels of sensory perception in those visualisations (smells, textures, sounds etc) using the same tools that retailers use in order to hypnotise us into believing that we need their products. With the help of hypnotherapy we can learn to design the visualisations that will help us enjoy life to the potential that we choose to. In this way, those visulaisations may integrate effectively into our subcosncious mind and become part of the person that we are at that moment in our lives.


About Anna Pons

Certificat (CPPD), Post Graduat Certificat (PGCert) i Post Graduat Diploma (PGD) en Hipnoteràpia Clínica, London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH) i Universitat de West London (UWL)
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