Our Choices as Consumers Governed by Genes

Washington, Sep 21 (IANS) Clues to consumer behaviour may be lurking in our genes, says a new study.

Itamar Simonson of the Stanford University and Aner Sela of University of Florida, both in the US, studied twins' consumer preferences to determine whether or not certain behaviours or traits have a genetic basis.

"A greater similarity in behaviour or trait between identical than between fraternal twins indicates that the behaviour or trait is likely to be heritable," the authors explain, according to the Journal of Consumer Research.

The authors discovered that people seem to inherit the following tendencies: to choose a compromise option and avoid extremes; select sure gains over gambles; prefer an easy but non-rewarding task over an enjoyable challenging one, among others.

They also found that likings for specific products seemed to be genetically related: chocolate, mustard, hybrid cars, science fiction movies, and jazz, says a Stanford release.

The researchers also found that some tendencies did not seem to be heritable - for example, a preference for a smaller versus larger product variety or likings for ketchup and tattoos.

The authors believe their work may reveal some important information on the genetics of "prudence". "Some people may be born with a tendency to 'be in the mainstream' whereas others tend to 'live on the edge'," the authors conclude.


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