Science proves that gifts are better when the gift giver gets one for themselves, too

Getting the perfect gift can be easier said than done But, according to science, it may be easier than you ever thought possible to nail any gift giving scenario. Just buy something you’d buy for yourself! According to a recent study, it’s better to give and receive.

The study was conducted by Evan Polman, marketing professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Sam Maglio, marketing professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and was published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Their research states that those who are receiving a gift will appreciate it more if they know the person who bought it also bought one for themselves, too. They call this “companionizing.”

gift giving photo
Flickr |

According to their findings, “The fact that a gift is shared with the giver makes it a better gift in the eyes of the receiver,” Polman said. “They like a companionized gift more, and they even feel closer to the giver.”

To come to this conclusion, they surveyed hundreds of people on how they’d like gifts that were attached with a card that read something similar to, “I hope you like the gift. I got myself the same one too!”

The scores went up for gifts (no matter what they were—even staplers) if the recipient found out the giver had gotten the same one at the same time.

And according to their findings, this works no matter how close you are to the person you’re giving a gift to. This could be partially due to the fact that it shows the giver has thought about more than just the moment the recipient unwraps the present.

birthday gift photo
Flickr | wolfsavard

According to research published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a poor gift is one that is only great to open, but that doesn’t have much use after the initial shock and awe factor.

“We propose that many giver-recipient discrepancies in the gift-giving literature can be explained, at least partially, by the notion that when evaluating the quality of a gift, givers primarily focus on the moment of exchange, whereas recipients primarily focus on how valuable a gift will be once owned,” the researchers write.

But if you buy yourself an item, it’s because you’re going to use it, right? Yeah, the receiver totally understands that!

So the next time you’re left wondering what type of present to get someone, try giving something you’d like yourself. Chances are, the other person will like it, too!

[h/t: Science Daily]