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  • The Perfect Gift? It’s the One They Asked For

    The New York Times - 12/12/2016

    Mary Steffel, a psychologist at Northeastern University, and colleagues have found that the more specific a gift card is, the less likely it is to be redeemed.

    “If you’re not sure what your recipient wants,” Dr. Steffel advised, “give them the gift of flexibility.”

    Above all, remember this: The thought usually doesn’t count. This counterintuitive finding emerged from a clever series of experiments by University of Chicago researchers at the nearby Museum of Science and Industry.

    Visitors to the museum were paired off — sometimes two strangers, sometimes two friends or relatives — and then one of them was led off to a separate room and asked to choose a gift for the other person among items from the museum’s shop. Some givers were told to pick randomly, while others were told to think carefully about the recipient’s tastes.

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