Whoever said the world will be a more peaceful place if women ran it has never been to Zara on the first day of its bi-annual sale. It is nothing short of chaos. Of course, there's also the annual Black Friday, a shopping event in the US that happens post-Thanksgiving that makes all shoppers go loco - with stampedes, and injuries reported every single year. According to new research, people who really enjoy shopping may be experiencing a shopper's high, just like a runner's high.
During a shopping experience, the human brain apparently releases the chemical dopamine, a kind of natural messenger which is essential to the normal functioning of the brain, and which has a role in our ability to experience pleasure or pain. It appears also to have a role in addictive behavior. Simply put, if an action makes us feel good we want to repeat it.
"You're getting a release of a chemical in the brain which is associated with learning, with making new memories, and with learning behaviors and how to repeat them," explains David Sulzer, an associate professor at Columbia University Medical Center who studies the functioning of the brain.
British researchers have been monitoring shoppers electronically, and have recorded a marked difference in brain patterns between shoppers who are just browsing and shoppers who are about to buy.
Of course, that's not news to avid shoppers. "When you're feeling bad, and you buy something good, and you look good, you feel better," says one shopper.
Not that we're telling you to stop shopping of course, but now you know why that new pair of shoes makes you feel like skipping your way home!