psychology | August 14, 2019

How Does Instagram Affect Our Shopping Habits? Psychology Professor Adam Alter Explores for The Cut

Once a lifestyle app featuring beautifully curated images, Instagram has become the newest, easiest shopping destination. In a new article on The Cut, psychologist and bestselling author Adam Alter explains why we’re so addicted, and how we can manage our symptoms in a digital world of access and convenience. 

Part of the addictive, shopping-fuelled influence of Instagram lies in its ability to make us want things. “You’re seeing the top one percent of interesting people doing the top one percent of the most interesting things in their lives, and that puts you in an aspirational mindset that leads you to shop for betterment,” says Adam Alter, a professor of marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business and the bestselling author of Irresistible.


Moreover, Instagram produces in us a feeling that’s akin to what gamblers experience when they’re playing the slots: sedated, pain-free, almost floating. “It’s an effortlessness that isn’t true about the rest of life,” Alter says. “Instagram is similar — it puts you in a calm state. The problem is, most people can’t get enough of it, so they ignore cues that it’s time to move on to do something else, and sit there for hours and hours.” The more time you spend on the app, the higher the chances are you’ll make a purchase, and the more information you give to advertisers about your preferences.


You can read the full article, including helpful tips to manage your online behavior, here.


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