The gifts we keep on giving: Documenting and destigmatizing the regifting taboo

The gifts we keep on giving: Documenting and destigmatizing the regifting taboo

By
Gabrielle S. Adams, Francis J. Flynn, Michael I. Norton
Psychological Science. October
2012, Vol. 23, Issue 10, Pages 1145-1150
Five studies examined whether the practice of regifting—a social taboo—is as offensive to the original givers as potential
regifters assume. Participants who imagined regifting a gift (receivers) thought that the original giver would be more offended
than participants who imagined that their gifts were regifted (givers) reported feeling. Specifically, receivers viewed regifting
as similar in offensiveness to throwing gifts away, yet givers clearly preferred the former. This asymmetry in emotional
reactions to regifting was driven by an asymmetry in beliefs about entitlement. Givers believed that the act of gift giving
passed title to the gift on to receivers, so that receivers were free to decide what to do with the gift; in contrast, receivers
believed that givers retained some say in how their gifts were used. Finally, an intervention designed to destigmatize regifting
by introducing a different normative standard (i.e., National Regifting Day) corrected the asymmetry in beliefs about
entitlement and increased regifting.