Science just confirmed what I've suspected to be true all along: For some, shopping is borderline orgasmic.
According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, the thrill of scoring sweet deals on a shopping spree is closely similar to the feelings you have when you crave sex.
Researchers came to this conclusion after monitoring the brain activity of shoppers as they browsed fast-fashion stores.
The sensor was designed to measure activity in the pleasure center of the brain.
Researchers found that not only did the pleasure signals spike when the volunteers found something they loved, but these signals were also triggered in the same "reward" center of the brain associated with other enjoyable activities, like sex and drugs.
Marketing analyst Michelle Madhok insists this is no coincidence.
These stores are set up to set off your brain. They're hitting something at your human behavior that makes you want to buy. There's lights, the music. Sometimes they smell good, so its really immersing yourself in the feel-good experience.
On the other hand, the researchers observed a significant decrease in the pleasure and reward regions of the brain when the volunteer was made to actually pay for the items. At the same time, activity in the brain's pain center spiked.
University of Michigan professor Scott Rick explained,
There's this pain that's associated with the spending, and to the best that we can tell, there seems to be this trade-off. It's waning off of pleasure versus pain when we are making that shopping decision.
The practical implications of the study's findings remain unclear. I'll just take it as another excuse to shop my face off and leave it at that.