While deciding about our bodies, we make better health care decisions when we are feeling tired and run down, suggest researchers.
Authors Monika Lisjak (Erasmus University) and Angela Y. Lee (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University), propose that people are more motivated to engage in healthful behavior when they are depleted and perceive their safety to be at stake.
Across five experiments, the researchers looked at how consumers use what they term "self-protective motivation" when it comes to avoiding danger. They also studied consumer preference for products that emphasize safety.
In one study, participants were asked to read a health message that both described the dangers of kidney disease and advocated the benefit of early detection. The risks associated with a family history of kidney disease were also highlighted in the message.
The authors found that for people with a family history of kidney disease, those who were feeling depleted exhibited a higher likelihood of being tested than those who were feeling healthy. Participants without a family history of kidney disease expressed a similar low interest in being tested regardless of how they were feeling.
In a second study looking at product selection, participants were asked to fill out a survey on health and fitness habits either before or after working out at the gym. As a thank you gift, the participants were able to choose either sunblock or moisturizer. When participants were surveyed after working out, the likelihood of choosing sunblock was much greater than choosing the moisturizer.
The new study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.