A new research conducted by scientists reveals people feel happier when someone insists them to indulge in sharing some dessert or indulge in other guilty pleasures.
According to authors Fangyuan Chen and Jaideep Sengupta from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, though generally people don't like to be forced to do things, when it comes to things that are normally associated with feelings of guilt, reducing someone's sense of free choice could ultimately boost their overall well-being.
In one study, a group of consumers was asked to read a book that was either entertaining or educational. These consumers were either able to choose the book themselves or simply given one of the two books. Consumers who read the educational book experienced equal levels of guilt, vitality, and creativity regardless of whether they had chosen or were given the book. However, consumers who were given the entertaining book experienced significantly less guilt and much higher vitality and creativity than those who had freely chosen the entertaining book.
The authors concluded that in an effort to avoid punishment, children would say someone else "made them" break the rules. As it turns out, this evasion of responsibility also works surprisingly well for adults and may carry substantial benefits for consumers.
The study is published in the Journal of Consumer Research.