Just in Time for the Holidays

The Harvard Business Review’s Daily Stat reports today that Merely Seeing a Box Being Opened Makes You Like What’s Inside

Research participants were more interested in buying a commemorative coin that was in a little red box if they observed the box being opened, as opposed to simply seeing the coin in the open box (0.43 versus minus-0.32 on a willingness-to-buy scale of minus-5 to 5), even though there was no surprise involved: In both circumstances they had already seen the coin and knew that it was in the box, says a team led by Yixia Sun of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. This and other experiments demonstrate that seeing a box being opened elicits enjoyment and has a positive effect on people’s evaluation of the item inside; the finding holds even when the box is transparent and the product is intrinsically undesirable, the researchers say.


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