Money can’t buy love: Asymmetric beliefs about the link between gift price and feelings of appreciation

Money can’t buy love: Asymmetric beliefs about the link between gift price and feelings of appreciation

By
Francis J. Flynn, Gabrielle S. Adams
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. February
2009, Vol. 45, Issue 2, Pages 404–409

Across three studies, we identify an asymmetry between gift-givers’ and gift-recipients’ beliefs about the link between gift price and feelings of appreciation. Gift-givers expected a positive correlation between how much they spent on a gift and the extent to which gift-recipients would appreciate the gift because gift-givers assume that more expensive gifts convey a higher level of thoughtfulness. Gift-recipients, in contrast, reported no such association between gift price and their actual feelings of appreciation. This effect occurred regardless of whether the individual’s role and the magnitude of the gift were manipulated or measured in the field. Taken together, these findings cast doubt on whether gift-givers can draw on their personal experience as gift-recipients in order to identify meaningful gifts for others.