The Less You Suffer, the More You Buy

A study of impulsive buyers tracks the half-life of guilt
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 16, 2007 6:30 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Everyone feels guilt—it's how long the guilt lasts that differentiates the impulse buyer—and the binge drinker, and the scarfer of a dozen chocolate truffles—from his or her more prudent counterparts. Time reports on a study of college students that discovered that for the former, guilt lasted half as long as it did for the latter.

So while pangs of remorse may be keen for both types right after indulging, for the impulsive, guilt evaporates quickly, while the prudent are still feeling it hours—and even days—later. And for those who can't shake their guilt, there's a "prudent" way out: "People can launder their negative emotions by doing something good or making a more practical choice" after an impulsive one, says one researcher.