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Kit Yarrow, Ph.D.
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Blog Entries by Kit Yarrow, Ph.D.

How Technology Is Changing What We Want to Eat

(0) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 1:43 PM

If you're old enough to have watched The Jetson's, the first moon landing or Lost in Space you've always known that technology would impact what you ate for dinner. Maybe you imagined that kitchen clean-up problems would be solved by tidy meal pills or space pouch food, or that ovens...

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Even the Experts Are Imperfect Holiday Shoppers

(2) Comments | Posted December 16, 2011 | 4:20 PM

Holiday shopping is full of "coulda, shoulda, woulda's." As in, "I could have gotten if for less if I'd waited," "I should have bought it last week, now it's sold out," or "I would have just gotten her a gift card if I'd known it was going to cost this...

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Peak Performance Holiday Shopping

(6) Comments | Posted November 25, 2011 | 4:56 PM

Love it or hate it, it's that time of the year when just about everyone will find themselves competing for bargains and searching for the perfect gift. Call it the big game season of shopping. Just as athletes prepare mentally and physically for the big game, so should you. Here...

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Shoppers Are Singing New Tunes

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2011 | 3:15 PM

Sales of snazzy goodies like nail polish, handbags, wine and cheesecake are soaring.

Meanwhile, ugly stepsister products like fertilizer, shoe polish and vacuum cleaner bags languish on store shelves.

Retail sales have remained relatively flat this year. But how people choose to spend their money is shifting from...

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The Retail Trend That's Busting Budgets

(3) Comments | Posted July 20, 2011 | 10:56 PM

When HauteLook's morning email popped up announcing a sale on Kate Somerville skincare, Casey felt a flutter of excitement. Never mind that she was barely half way through a tube of ExfoliKate and had another waiting under the sink that she'd purchased during a different promotion. Kate Somerville on sale!...

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Soaring Prices No Match for Empowered Consumers

(6) Comments | Posted April 19, 2011 | 2:34 PM

Americans are paying more for just about everything these days. The double whammy of higher oil prices and poor weather conditions have resulted in rising manufacturing costs, which are passed along to consumers in the form of price jumps (often Olympic-sized).

As the U.S. economy strengthens, many fear these...

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The Behavioral Economics of Tax Refunds

(2) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 5:32 PM

If you were about to get a check for $3,000, what would you do with it? If you've already thought about it, you're not alone. It's tax refund time and two thirds of Americans have received or are anticipating a refund. Last year 119 million Americans received refunds totaling more...

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Six tips for happy returns

(1) Comments | Posted December 27, 2010 | 1:49 PM

One out of three American shoppers will head to the mall this week to return a holiday gift. That amounts to nearly 50 billion dollars worth of rejected merchandise.

Return fraud is on the rise and so many retailers are clamping down on return policies this year. Retailers estimate...

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Holiday Shopping Tips From an "Expert"

(1) Comments | Posted December 7, 2010 | 12:26 PM

Since I study consumer behavior it's actually part of my job to go shopping. Though my focus is on the mindset of consumers and the marketing tactics of retailers, I've also picked up a few shopping tips.

This list is adapted from an interview I did with US...

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A Generational Chasm in Spending Ideals

(2) Comments | Posted September 24, 2010 | 1:01 PM

Today, 62% of Americans are spending less than they did at the start of the recession. 72% say they buy less expensive brands, 57% have cut back on vacations and 30% spend less on alcohol or cigarettes. Additionally, half of Americans have cut back on household debt like car loans,...

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Guys Gone Wild -- for Grooming Products

(1) Comments | Posted August 2, 2010 | 12:07 PM

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Guys are so eager to smell like "the man your man could smell like" that for the first time in history they're spending more on personal care products than women. According to two new surveys, young men attending college have crept ahead of their...

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Got the Wedding (Gift) Jitters?

(7) Comments | Posted July 1, 2010 | 11:09 AM

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It's July, the month that recently edged out June as the most popular month of the year for weddings. Nearly a quarter of a million weddings will take place this month and the average couple will invite over 150 guests. That means lots of...

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Quiz! Are You Entitled?

(1) Comments | Posted June 18, 2010 | 1:43 PM

Take this simple quiz to see if you have an inflated sense of entitlement.

1. When a colleague at your office gets special acknowledgment for their work how do you typically feel?

A. You wonder if you'll ever get acknowledged for your hard work
B. You feel...

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Why Pop-Ups Work Now

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2010 | 2:48 PM

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Last week Trattoria 1910 opened in a bleak little alley a couple of blocks away from my university. The restaurant has been sold out every day since and yet it's closing in two weeks. Stranger yet? All the food is free. Turns out it's...

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College Students Failing Empathy Test

(7) Comments | Posted May 28, 2010 | 1:00 PM

College students today are significantly less empathic than students of the 80's or 90's, according to a new study by the University of Michigan. The 30-year longitudinal study of nearly 14,000 students found a 40% drop in empathy from the late 70's, with the sharpest decline occurring after the year...

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The Other Woman

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2010 | 4:54 PM

Today the other woman (or man) may not even be human.

But don't let that stop you from appreciating the impact of this intruder on your relationships.

7% of Americans will respond to them during sex. Meals have no chance - that number jumps to 49% of those under...

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How to Save Your Sanity (and Money) This Tax Season

(1) Comments | Posted March 8, 2010 | 4:43 PM

Leigh Edwards, a popular upscale barber at Hair Deux in San Francisco, always takes her annual vacation during tax season. Of her clientele she says, "They all procrastinate then go crazy and end up skipping their appointments. It's by far the slowest time of the year."

Don...

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The Definitive Guide to New Year's Resolutions

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2009 | 3:28 PM

It's time for our annual ritual of absolution and control - otherwise known as the New Year's Resolution. If you're like most Americans, your resolution will be the same one you made last year. And again this year it'll last until Valentine's Day.

But some resolutions work - about...

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Six Sneaky Ways That Sales Spur Spending

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2009 | 11:31 AM

Like most Americans, Karen began her Christmas shopping with a firm budget. The 41-year-old San Franciscan had been inspired to take a closer look at her own finances after a friend lost her job last January. Since then she's avoided shopping, given up treats like her house cleaner and as...

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The Secret Life of Zhu Zhu Hamsters

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2009 | 9:36 AM

It may seem like crazy luck but there's a lot of deep psychology behind the funky little techno hamster that's captured the attention and dollars of American shoppers.

Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters, introduced for $10, are selling for over $30 on Amazon and bidders have been scoring "Mr. Squiggles" and...

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