Poor PRESENTations

You shouldn’t have! No… really… you shouldn’t have. 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Disappointment… NOT the reaction I want after giving a present. Can gift wrap help guarantee love at first sight? 

Jessica Rixom from the University of Nevada and colleagues thought YES… with a twist! Neatly wrapped gifts may set expectations too high, and lead to disappointment. Is sloppy better? 

The researchers showed nearly two hundred college students a picture of a present. Either beautifully tucked with a perfect bow, or sloppily assembled. Participants rated their expectations based on the wrapping.

The present was then revealed: new earbuds! Afterwards, the students rated how much they liked the gift.

The verdict? Surprisingly, people are more likely to love a poorly-wrapped gift! Perfectly wrapped presents set high expectations. Earbuds? Didn’t live up to the hype. Sloppy wrapping lowered expectations. Results? The subjects liked the earbuds more. 

So don’t stress the gift wrap next holiday season! 

Now… excuse me while I stuff these gifts into a wrinkled paper sack.