Researchers at the University of Michigan published a study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology that defends the values of retail therapy. As research into this subject should, the study also (probably inadvertently) evokes the spirit of Clueless in its defense. The researchers report:
Our work suggests that making shopping choices can help to restore a sense of personal control over one’s environment and reduce sadness.
Clueless, you will recall, characterized shopping for a makeover as something that could give “a sense of control in a world full of chaos.”
The researchers say that this is the first study to examine whether making a purchase, as opposed to window-shopping, makes a difference in the alleviation of sadness. Subjects were divided into choosers and browsers. The choosers were asked to select four of the twelve items. 79 percent of the choosers reported that they felt more in control; just 2 percent of browsers reported this feeling. Choosers also felt three times less sad than window-shoppers. Just purchasing some happiness, don’t mind them!