Things To Know About Your Brain When You Buy Stuff

If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about your brain. We’re always trying to improve it so we can be smarter and more successful, but what does it mean to have a “smart” brain? 

And what does that mean for how we make purchases? Here are some interesting facts about our brains when we buy stuff:

One Thing to Know About Your Brain That Will Change Your Life
Key Takeaways
– Understanding the brain’s role in buying decisions
– Exploring cognitive biases and their impact on consumer behavior
– Uncovering the influence of emotions on purchasing choices
– Learning about the neurological basis of impulsive buying
– Gaining insights into the power of neuromarketing techniques

Most People Believe They Are Less Likely To Make Impulse Purchases

You are definitely more likely to make impulse purchases when you’re happy, and even more so if you already have a lot of stuff.

When we feel good about ourselves, our outlook on life is sunny and vibrant, which makes us want to reward ourselves by buying things that make us happy. 

This is why stores like Sephora and Ulta exist they know that we all want to buy makeup as a way of feeling better about ourselves; it’s just one more thing that makes us feel pretty (which is another motivator for impulsive buyers).

How your brain decides to like a product is fascinating. Discover the intricate neural processes that lead to instant preferences in our article on How Your Brain Decides to Like a Product from First Sight.

Step Away From The Red!

You may think this color is sexy or powerful but retailers know what they’re doing when they use red in their store design: They use it strategically because studies show that people tend to spend more money when surrounded by this color!

You Spend More If You Think You’re Getting A Bargain

If you believe something is a good deal, like buying an item on sale or using your points, you may be more likely to spend more than what it’s worth. 

According to research from the Journal of Consumer Research and Drexel University, people will spend more money when they think they are getting a lower price for something. 

For example, if someone has a coupon for $5 off their purchase at the grocery store and ends up spending $60 on groceries instead of $55 without the coupon, that person would feel like they saved money.

Because they saved 5% off the total cost of their food even though they spent 25% more money than if they hadn’t had the coupon in place!

On top of that, we continue to spend after receiving discounts because we get used to seeing prices come down over time (and so do retailers). 

When stores have sales all year long instead of just during holidays or other special occasions throughout the year when most people are thinking about buying gifts anyway it becomes harder for us not only because there’s less incentive but also because we don’t even notice anymore when prices go down since it seems normal now!

Neuromarketing techniques go beyond supermarkets. Learn how you can apply these strategies too in Neuromarketing Isn’t Just for the Supermarket, and You Can Use the Technique Too.

You Spend More If You Think You’re Getting A Bargain On Something Better For Your Health

You can indeed be manipulated into spending more on something if you think it is better for your health. And, likewise, if you believe that something is better for the environment, then your brain will cause you to spend more on it. 

This may be because people like to think of themselves as good people and thus want to do things that are good for others (like the environment).

The reason this works so well is that our brains are wired to look at everything in black and white terms there is no middle ground. 

So when we see something advertised as being healthy or environmentally friendly our brains immediately jump onto the bandwagon believing everything they say without considering any other options.

You Spend More If You Think You’re Getting A Bargain On Something Better For The Environment

In one study, participants were told they would be able to buy either an organic chocolate bar or a regular chocolate bar. The price of each was set at $1. 

When people thought they were buying the organic version, they spent more time deciding whether or not to buy it but also bought more products overall. 

That’s because when people believe they’re getting more value from their purchase (in this case, health benefits), they tend to choose items with higher prices over cheaper ones even if the lower-priced option is less expensive on its own.

People Spend More When They Think It Will Make Them Healthier

In another experiment conducted by Columbia Business School professors Amos Tversky and Eldar Shafir, researchers compared two scenarios: one in which participants were offered either regular or sugar-free cookies; 

And another where participants could choose between a larger box of sugary treats or a smaller box with fewer sweets inside each package (the same number of calories). 

The results showed that most people chose the cheaper option in both scenarios and regardless of whether or not healthy eating was emphasized during discussions.

Before choosing those who had been thinking about health issues before making choices tended to choose more expensive options from those presented.

Before them rather than opting for less costly but equally caloric options like those found at any grocery store aisle anywhere around our globe today!

People spend more when their purchases benefit someone else

Uncover the potential of neuromarketing as a powerful tool in marketing. Dive into the details with our article on Neuromarketing: The Magic Bullet That Can Actually Work.

You Spend Less When You Feel Self-Conscious

If you feel self-conscious about the money you’re spending, your brain will work overtime to stop you from buying. When we feel like our actions are being watched or judged by other people, an area in our brain called the insula activates. 

This sensation can make us more aware of our spending habits and guilty about them even if there’s nothing wrong with what we’re doing at all.

There are a few reasons why this happens: First, the insula is responsible for processing pain and discomfort; it reacts when someone feels guilty or ashamed. 

Second, since social anxiety tends to increase feelings of guilt and shame after making mistakes (or even just thinking about them), those feelings get amplified when someone is worried about what others think of them as they shop around town!

The result? You’ll be less likely to buy anything expensive because it makes no sense financially but also because going against social norms has been shown over time to lead people into trouble. 

And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting something nice from time to time (in fact there could be benefits!), what makes shopping such an emotional experience isn’t always clear-cut…

People Underestimate How Much They Will Regret Purchases In The Future By Almost 50%

It’s not uncommon for people to regret purchases in the future. According to a study by Dr. Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University, people are often unaware of how much they will regret their decisions, and those decisions tend to be made with little or no forethought.

That’s because we place too much emphasis on present satisfaction when making choices and fail to consider how we might feel about those same choices later on down the road. 

Research shows that there’s an almost 50% gap between what people think they will regret most and what they end up regretting! 

So if you’re planning on picking up something new this weekend (or even next year), be sure it won’t make you wish you hadn’t you may just have more than enough reason to regret it days from now!

Reading the minds of your prospects can revolutionize your marketing. Explore techniques and insights in How to Read the Minds of Your Prospects.

You Rationalize Wasteful Spending When It Benefits Someone Else

You are more likely to spend money on others than yourself.

While this may seem counterintuitive, it’s a natural consequence of our brain’s wiring. We have an inherent bias toward helping the people around us and the things that make them happy it’s just how we’re built, and there’s no shame in taking advantage of these tendencies! 

The fact is that when you buy something for someone else, not only does it fulfill your desire to give but also makes them feel good about themselves or their lives. 

In other words: You get to do what you want while still being able to rationalize wasteful spending with altruism (and maybe some guilt).

Time limits make deals seem more attractive, but having enough time to consider our options makes us feel better about our purchase afterward.

When you’re getting ready to buy something, time limits can make a deal seem more attractive. But having enough time to consider our options makes us feel better about our purchase afterward.

According to research in the Journal of Consumer Research, “more time leads consumers to perceive negative consequences and evaluate other sources of information (i.e., competitors’ products and prices) that are not available when they act quickly.” 

So buying on impulse often leads us down a road of buyer’s remorse; after all, you might have been able to do better if you’d had more time!

The Air In Shopping Malls Can Be Engineered To Make You Buy More

When you walk into a shopping mall, the air might be colder or hotter than it was outside. This can affect your mood, and your willingness to buy things.

So, how do they do it?

The temperature of the air in a store can be engineered to make you spend more money. If a store is hot (or cold), researchers have found that people will spend more time there and buy more stuff!

This is because our bodies respond to different temperatures by releasing different hormones into our bloodstream, for example, when we’re hot we sweat which helps keep us cool; 

When we’re cold our body releases adrenaline so we start shivering and moving around faster so body heat doesn’t escape as quickly from our skin. 

These reactions affect our moods too: for example if it’s cold outside then maybe you feel depressed because your body thinks there’s no need for happiness as long as survival is guaranteed… 

But if it’s sunny out then maybe this makes people happier than usual because they think “Hey! There’s plenty of food out here!”

Companies Use Background Music To Alter Your Mood And Get You To Buy Things

Background music can make you feel happy, sad, or relaxed. “Music has the power to influence how you feel and what you think,” says Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson in this article on how music affects our purchasing decisions. 

Music can also dictate whether or not customers spend money in a store. In one study of retail stores that played classical music compared with those that played pop tunes.

Researchers found that customers were happier and spent significantly more time shopping at stores where classical music was playing and they were also willing to pay higher prices for items they wanted!

The takeaway here? Companies play background music to get people into their stores so they’ll buy things there instead of elsewhere (or online). 

So if it’s important for your business model that customers stay put rather than shop around, make sure your store plays something pleasant but not too distracting.

Retail Stores Use The Color Red Strategically To Get Us To Buy More

When you visit a retail store, you’ll see that red is everywhere. It’s used in the signs and decorations, on sale tags and price tags, and on products themselves. Retail stores use the color red strategically to get us to buy more.

Red is associated with danger and luxury. It makes people feel hungry and confident as well as more attractive! 

So when we go into a store, we’re looking for something that will make us feel like we’re getting something good or valuable (luxury), but also that there’s risk involved (danger). 

The combination of these two feelings can stimulate our brains enough that it makes us want to buy things even though they might not be necessary or useful in our lives at all!

Some Stores Use Scents (Like Baking Bread) To Increase Sales

You’re not the only one who has gotten hungry while standing in line at the grocery store. A recent study suggests that one reason people buy more food at the market is because of smells. 

Researchers found that when they gave people in a lab either a placebo or an odorless substance, then exposed them to scents like fresh bread baking and chocolate chip cookies baking, their brains lit up with activity in areas related to hunger and desire. 

The result? Even though they didn’t consume anything but an odorless powder, participants reported feeling hungrier after smelling these scents which led them to buy more food!

This finding may not come as a surprise given how powerful your sense of smell is when it comes to triggering emotions and memories. 

But it does provide insight into how we make purchasing decisions, particularly those related to food shopping (which accounts for about half of all household purchases). 

So next time you go grocery shopping, don’t forget about what might be lurking behind those doors: delicious aromas that could influence your shopping cart!

The Way Companies Package Items Can Affect How Much We’re Willing To Pay For Them Even If We’re Not Buying Food!

It turns out that the way a product is packaged can affect perceived value and quality, even if you aren’t buying groceries or other consumables. 

This was demonstrated in a study by Yale University researchers published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2008 (and cited by New York Times columnist David Leonhardt). 

In the experiment, participants were asked about their willingness to pay for two identical bottles of wine: 

One was wrapped in plain brown paper; the other had a brown bag tied with ribbon around it. The participants said they’d pay more for the bottle at least partially because it looked fancier.

Sitting Down Increases The Likelihood Of Buying An Expensive Item

Sitting down when you make a purchase increases the likelihood that you’ll buy an expensive item.

You might think that sitting down would help us focus on what we’re buying, but it turns out that sitting down makes us less likely to be distracted and more likely to buy an expensive item. Why? 

When we are in a comfortable position, our brain signals that we are safe and secure and this sends subconscious messages to our body that tell us we can act without fear of being hurt or punished physically or socially.

This makes sense when you think about some of the most common scenarios where people sit down: at their desks at work; in front of their television sets watching TV; 

And maybe even while they’re ordering takeout food online. In all these cases, nothing is threatening nearby so why should anyone worry about what they might buy?

Some stores play classical music to slow down shoppers and make them look at more products. Others play upbeat music so they move faster through their aisles, buying more stuff.

It turns out that classical music makes people move slower and more thoughtfully, while upbeat music makes them move faster. 

So if a store wants customers to linger longer and look at more products, it plays classical music. If it wants customers to get through their aisles faster and buy more stuff, it plays upbeat music.

That’s because our brains associate different types of sounds with certain emotions: classical music usually evokes feelings of relaxation or serenity; upbeat pop songs trigger excitement or energy (and sometimes anxiety). 

So when you hear the former while strolling down an aisle in the grocery store or walking through a mall, your brain is tricked into thinking you’re relaxed when in reality you’re just trying to find something on sale so you can get out of there!

Simplify the neuroscience behind successful selling strategies. Explore 16 methods that can help you sell anything with our guide on 16 Simple Neuroscience Methods You Can Use to Sell Anything.


We hope you’ve found this article informative and helpful. If you’re looking for a new way to shop, maybe consider slowing down and taking your time? 

Maybe try going to the grocery store when it’s not rush hour (so there are fewer people around), or shopping in smaller stores where there isn’t much to see. 

As always, we recommend that before buying anything at all, consider whether it will really make your life better or just add more stress!

Further Reading

Explore more about the fascinating relationship between the brain and shopping with these articles:

This Is Your Brain on Shopping: Discover the neural processes behind shopping and how they affect your decisions.

Does Your Brain Know What You Will Buy Before You Do?: Delve into the intriguing concept of subconscious purchasing decisions.

Fashion Psychology: The Online Shopping Addiction: Learn about the psychological aspects of online shopping and potential addictive behaviors.


What are the neurological factors influencing shopping decisions?

Shopping decisions are influenced by a complex interplay of cognitive biases, emotions, and social influences that activate various brain regions. Understanding these factors can provide insights into consumer behavior.

How does fashion psychology contribute to understanding shopping habits?

Fashion psychology delves into the emotional and psychological aspects of shopping, exploring how clothing choices can be influenced by personal identity, cultural factors, and emotional states.

Can online shopping lead to addiction?

Yes, online shopping can lead to addiction for some individuals. The convenience, immediate gratification, and personalized experiences of online shopping can trigger dopamine release in the brain, potentially leading to compulsive behavior.

How does the brain predict what we’ll buy?

Recent research suggests that the brain can anticipate purchasing decisions based on neural patterns associated with previous choices. These patterns can be decoded to predict future preferences even before conscious awareness.

What role do emotions play in shopping?

Emotions play a significant role in shopping decisions. Positive emotions can lead to impulsive purchases, while negative emotions might drive comfort buying. Marketers often use emotional triggers to influence consumer behavior.