1.17.2007

Shopaholism: nature, not nurture?

Shopaholics, rejoice! You might be able to blame the inability to resist purchasing useless things on your brain chemistry.

An fMRI study conducted by Stanford U. revealed that images of coveted items activate the dopamine receptors in the nucleus accumbens, which responds to the experience or anticipation of pleasant things. Conversely, the insula of your brain is activated when you see something bad (like a hefty price tag). When your insula is a weakling, you end up buying that neon pink elephant lawn ornament.

Before any of you tightwads start feeling uppity in the face of the impulse shoppers' (naturally?) weak resolve, get this: the study also shows that tightwads aren't any more rational than the spendthrifts. Bummers. There goes my sense of superiority.

You can read John Tierney's NYT article and blog for more. I just summarized the article above, but both are really fun reads.

1 comment:

LeighAnn said...

And here I thought I just liked pretty things!