Rituals Enhance Consumption

Kathleen D. Vohs, Yajin Wang, Francesca Gino, Michael I. Norton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1714-1721
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Volume24
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Keywords

  • consumption
  • decision making
  • enjoyment
  • involvement
  • motivation
  • rituals

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