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Psychol Sci. 2013 Sep;24(9):1714-21. doi: 10.1177/0956797613478949. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

Rituals enhance consumption.

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1Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.


Four experiments tested the novel hypothesis that ritualistic behavior potentiates and enhances ensuing consumption--an effect found for chocolates, lemonade, and even carrots. Experiment 1 showed that participants who engaged in ritualized behavior, compared with those who did not, evaluated chocolate as more flavorful, valuable, and deserving of behavioral savoring. Experiment 2 demonstrated that random gestures do not boost consumption as much as ritualistic gestures do. It further showed that a delay between a ritual and the opportunity to consume heightens enjoyment, which attests to the idea that ritual behavior stimulates goal-directed action (to consume). Experiment 3 found that performing a ritual oneself enhances consumption more than watching someone else perform the same ritual, suggesting that personal involvement is crucial for the benefits of rituals to emerge. Finally, Experiment 4 provided direct evidence of the underlying process: Rituals enhance the enjoyment of consumption because of the greater involvement in the experience that they prompt.


consumption; decision making; enjoyment; involvement; motivation; rituals

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