Monday, February 09, 2009

Be a Creative Consumer, Don't Let News of the Bad Economy Get you Down

We are always saying at our house, "if you don't want to get depressed then don't watch the news." We said this long before the current economy came crashing down around our ears. Don't take me wrong, we don't want to hide our head in the sand, but bad news seems to sell.

Now there is a study out that confirms what I've known for a long time. Bad news is a self-seeking prophesy, it tends to beget bad news. We say don't let your brain fool you, and don't buy into the economic panic. Spending right now, if you have the cash, will help someone who needs work.

Let me explain. Recent studies conducted by researchers at Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon using brain imaging have identified the emotional tug of war that takes place in our brain every time we consider spending money. Apparently there are two distinct parts of our brain that determine if we’ll lay out the cash or not. When we are first exposed to something we are considering purchasing, the part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) is turned on. This part of the brain is on the dopamine reward pathway, and yes, it's typically associated with things like sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. The intensity of the reaction is tied to the cognitive desire of the object. For instance a wine connoisseur comes across a vintage he has been hoping to add to his collection and this part of the brain really gets all fired up.

Then comes exposure to the price tag and the insula, which is associated with negative feelings. The insula is triggered by things like nicotine withdrawal and pictures of people in pain. In general, we try to avoid anything that makes our insula excited. Apparently, this includes spending money. Such is the checks and balances system of the brain. When all we see on the news is that our economy is crashing, our insula is heightened and we pull back. Which is a good thing if you are really overextended, but if your not, you're letting your fear define your life.

So, here's the good news you've been waiting for--get ready nucleus accumbens. The art and fine handmade items on our site, remain excellent values. Here are a few specific items, we think you will love, and yes, you have time to make someone very happy on V Day. We love you too.--Ruth Mitchell


(c) 2008 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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