Multi-tasking can affect your shopping

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New York, Nov 17 (IANS) If you are planning to go shopping, keep your mobile phones at bay, as a new study suggests that engaged in a mobile phone conversation, while trying to shop may hamper your shopping experience.

The findings showed that multi-tasking, such as using your phone while in shopping, can cause you stress.

The more an individual gets stressed, the less focused and successful he or she will be during shopping. This may also lead to hasty decisions, the researchers said.

In the study, the researchers set up shopping scenarios for the distraction of multitasking and for the mindset of the participants.

In one scenario, the participants were asked to purchase low-calorie snacks for a get-together and were asked to imagine that they were shopping, with a tight budget.

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They had to buy three different snacks to share with a friend with whom they were travelling, and were both on a diet and did not want to consume more than 500 calories on snacks per day.

Some of the participants were asked to listen to a voicemail message from a friend at the same time as they completed the assigned shopping task.

The authors made certain to determine whether the participants in each situation were in a deliberative, or “why,” mindset versus an implementing, or “how,” mindset, “because the former requires more cognitive resources while the latter are more intent on completing the task”.

“The study revealed that while the more determined ‘how’ shoppers were minimally affected by multitasking, the performance of the ‘why’ mindset shoppers suffered, with their purchases tending to exceed the caloric limit imposed,” said A. Selin Atalay, professor at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management — a private non-profit business school in Germany.

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The study showed that those in the “why” mindset may lead to faster, less careful decisions in this case, resulting in higher total calories of the snacks chosen, Atalay added.

The distraction of multitasking may cause a large degree of mental stress. Given the prevalence of multitasking, retailers should consider ways to reduce stress in the shopping environment, the study suggested.



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