While it seems like a utopian concept, the argument that some consumers could be addicted to saving money might not be as inconceivable as it sounds.
A study conducted by professor George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon found that despite the challenges people have with saving money, a significant 25 percent of the general population actually found it painful to spend money.
Loewenstein studied 13,000 people to examine their brain activity patterns and response to desirable items (e.g., chocolate candy) versus undesirable items (e.g., the candy’s price tag), using functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques.
The results uncovered that if participants liked the chocolate, the brain’s reward center (the nucleus accumbens) demonstrated a positive reaction to seeing the candy. Upon seeing the chocolate’s price tag, however, the pain and disgust regions of the brain (the insula) showed activity.
These findings suggest that the brain’s negative response to tapping into a bank account is its inherent way of reeling in consumers from seeking out too many pleasure-seeking experiences. This adverse response to the thought of losing money is what might have paved the way for the different types of savers who seek to pad their savings accounts with extra cash.continue reading »