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Shopping In High Heels May Stop You From Splurging: Study

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Leave it to academics to finally discover a somewhat practical reason to wear high heals.

A new study by two Brigham Young University marketing professors reveals that shoppers wearing high heels are more likely to make sensible decisions and not overspend while shopping. That's because heels give you a heightened sense of balance. In fact, other balancing activities like riding up and down in an elevator or going to a yoga class can have the same effect on spending habits.

Study author Darron Billeter said in an interview with The Huffington Post that once the concept of balance is activated in a shopper's mind, he or she is more likely to avoid an extreme purchase, whether it be the most expensive or the cheapest option.

When it comes to buying a car for example, Billeter said a shopper who is wearing high heels or is coming from a yoga class is less likely to buy a super fast car with low gas mileage or a very slow car with extremely high gas mileage. Instead, he or she will probably settle for an option somewhere in the middle.

Billeter's discovery bolsters the widely recognized "compromise effect" -- a popular marketing concept which states that buyers are more likely to purchase the middle option when presented with an array of products that vary from cheap to expensive.

Billeter cautioned that this compromised approach to spending may not always lead to the best outcome for shoppers. Sometimes, he pointed out, the best deal may not be the middle option. For example, a driver who commutes a far distance to work may be better off with a slow car that gets the better gas mileage rather than what's considered the middle option.

The study, entitled "Consumer Behavior in “Equilibrium”: How Experiencing Physical Balance Increases Compromise Choice," was published in the American Marketing Association's August edition.

Billeter and co-author Jeffrey Larson are among a cohort of academics who are interested in discovering how physical experiences can affect decision making. Researchers have discovered that shopping while hungry can lead to buying more junk food. Online retailers have also seen a boost from shoppers who hit up sales after their inhibitions are lowered from drinking. And despite the popular phrase "retail therapy," a recent study found that shopping while sad only increases loneliness and depression.

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