Why We Hate to Give the Same Gift to Multiple People

In an experiment, a majority of people with two gift options gave each of two recipients different gifts, even though one of the presents was clearly less appealing than the other and the giftees had no way of comparing them. People persist in giving different gifts to different recipients in an attempt to be thoughtful by treating each person as a unique individual, write Mary Steffel of the University of Cincinnati and Robyn A. LeBoeuf of the University of Florida. The effect was attenuated when givers were encouraged to focus more on what the recipients would really like.

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