Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Gift Giving Through the Mind of a CMU Expert

Researchers help you find the gift your loved ones really want this holiday season.

photo via flickr creative commons


Instead of waiting in line for the latest gadgets, you should opt for a gift with a little more meaning.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have broken down gift-giving and receiving to find gift-givers are playing it safe by purchasing superficial presents such as a Pens jersey or hat at a higher rate than recipients would prefer.

In the paper aptly titled, “Sentimental Value and Gift Giving: Givers’ Fears of Getting It Wrong Prevents Them from Getting It Right,” researchers hypothesized that gift-givers often hesitate before giving sentimental gifts because they may seem to lack value. Instead, they give superficial gifts that align with the recipient’s interests, but they’re not always more well-received.

“Essentially, givers seem to view sentimentally valuable gifts as having the potential to be either home runs or strikeouts," says Julian Givi, lead author of the study, in a press release. "Rather than risking a strikeout, they go for the sure thing, when what recipients truly desire are sentimentally valuable gifts."

In a series of tests, a group of assigned givers were asked to choose between a photo of their friend’s favorite musician or a photo of the pair together. More often than not, the giver chose the photo of the musician, while the recipients chose the sentimental photo, at a higher rate.

To further prove their hypothesis, researchers targeted couples and again found givers did not give the sentimentally valuable gift as often as recipients wanted.

In defining what could create this disconnect, researchers had one group of subjects write about a time they took a risk that paid off and another write about a time their risk failed. The groups then chose between two bicycles for a friend: one with sentimental value and one made by a brand the recipient liked. Those whose risked paid off were more likely to choose the sentimental bike. Those who remembered failing stuck with the safer, respected brand option.

The bottom line? Skip the long lines at the mall and spend more time with your family and snap a few more pictures for future gifts.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Pitt Attaches Old-School Signature to Narduzzi’s Championship Prediction

Thanks to wide receivers recognized for their blocking ability and an offensive line endearingly referred to as “knuckleheads“ –– the Panthers are one win away from making their head coach's bold pre-season prediction a reality.

Pittsburgh Restaurant News: Reduced Hours and a Chef Change

Two Oakland restaurants now have shorter hours and a chef moves from Downtown to Lawrenceville.

What Unites Us In the Wake of the Tree of Life Tragedy

We asked local faith leaders for their response to the massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill –– and how we can come together and more forward as a community.

Pittsburgh Restaurant Review: Molinaro Ristorante

Ron Molinaro's Downtown restaurant offers high-end Italian dishes made with top-notch ingredients, but is it worth the price premium?

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2018 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine highlights the unsung heroes of the health care field: our Excellence in Nursing honorees, chosen by our panel of distinguished judges in the field.

Nursing Shortage in Pittsburgh Calls for Creative Solutions

RetuRN to Practice entices retired nurses back Into the field.

Fine Art Meets High Fashion at the Carnegie International

With the Carnegie International as the backdrop, we feature work by local fashion designer Elaine Healey, who has been morphing from luxury womenswear to a more “non-binary” style.

The 400-Word Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

While Harry Potter diehards will find more than enough sustenance in the sequel, non-devotees may have a rough time following the action.

Pittsburgh's Tomorrow – What We Need in the Future

As the year comes to a close, we look forward to what Pittsburgh can be –– and what we'd like to see change –– in the coming years.

How to Shop Like a Pro for Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh

Our guide to produce, pastries, libations and more will help your table brim with tasty treats from Pittsburgh-area businesses.

Drink Like the French on Beaujolais Nouveau Day

Why and where to celebrate on Thursday, which marks the annual release of the young wine.

‘X’ Marks the Spot for This Wedding Scavenger Hunt

She thought she was going on a simple scavenger hunt. She never dreamed it would end with a wedding.

Pittsburgh Just Dodged the Amazon Bullet

We should be relieved that the tech giant opted not to move in.

It's Official: Amazon HQ2 is Not Coming to Pittsburgh

Instead of one city, the giant retailer is splitting its second headquarters between northern Virginia and New York City.

Schoolhouse Electric Brings Hip Lighting, Coffee, to Pittsburgh

The Portland, Ore-based lighting and furnishings store, which shares space with a high-end coffeehouse from the team behind The Vandal restaurant, is located in East Liberty's Detective Building.