Bought something online and didn’t tell your spouse? Do you hide candy from your partner? You may feel a little guilty about this, but a new study has found that these small, harmless underhand activities can actually be good for relationships.
A study from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University, the University of Connecticut, and Duke University, which is claimed to be “the first known study of the emotional, behavioral, and relational dimensions of covert consumer behavior,” found that guilt from covert consumption often leads to greater contributions. into a relationship.
“In our study, we found that 90% of people have recently kept everyday consumer behavior a secret from loved ones, such as a friend or spouse, even though they also report that they don’t think their partner would have it all. even if they knew about it. it,” said Kelly Gullo White, assistant professor of marketing at the Kelly School, in a press release issued by Indiana University.
White, one of the study’s two lead authors, added: “While most of these clandestine activities are quite common, they can still — positively — affect relationships.”
The peer-reviewed Journal of Consumer Psychology published a research paper, Secret Consumer Behavior in Intimate Relationships, in which the authors explored how often people do not tell their spouses or partners about their everyday consumer behavior, and what the consequences might be.
In the past, all research into secrets has usually resulted in negative results, but these studies have mostly focused on secrets associated with important and negative information, such as trauma or extramarital affairs.
Great investment in relationships
A recent study found that hiding mundane things — like watching a TV show before a spouse did, or secretly eating pizza or whatever — can make people feel a little guilty, but also encourages them to be willing to invest more. in their relationship, and this is a positive effect.
These “big investment in a relationship” might include, for example, spending extra on your partner or watching your spouse’s favorite movie.
White and co-authors Daniel J. Brick, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Connecticut, and Gavan J. Fitzsimons, Edward S. and Rose C. Donnell professor of marketing and psychology at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, conducted the study. a series of studies within the study. They collected information from couples (both partners), asking them about their secret consumption. They also collected data from hypothetical examples, the researchers said.
The results showed that the majority of clandestine consumption is best described as a product (65%), apart from experiences (12%) and services (10%). The majority of respondents named food or drinks (40%), followed by clothes and jewelry (10%) and hobbies (10%). Some also cited a gift/donation (8%) as well as health, beauty or wellness products (6.3%) as secret consumption.
“…partners often keep the same secrets from each other,” said Brik, co-author, calling it one of his “favorite discoveries.” “In one couple, both partners secretly ate meat even though both were supposed to be vegetarians.”
Future research could explore the reasons why people behave the way they do, the researchers said.