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Death Sells

There is a definitive link between death and consumer behavior according to a study by Professor Naomi Mandel and co-author, Dirk Smeesters of the Rotterdam School of Management.

"Eat, Drink and Go Shopping: Why Thoughts of Death Whet Consumers' Appetite for Stuff", from knowledge at Wharton.

"The paper explores several aspects of human psychology, but its principal finding is simple enough: When humans think about death, they tend to binge.

Mandel is an expert in how non-conscious influences -- the fear of death among them -- can influence consumer behavior. In her most recent paper, "The Sweet Escape: Effects of Mortality Salience on Consumption Quantities for High- and Low-Self-Esteem Consumers," Mandel and co-author Dirk Smeesters of the Rotterdam School of Management explain how "mortality salience" -- that is, the awareness that one will die -- can directly impact the way we eat, drink and shop.

The study has implications for both marketers and consumers, and is among the first to prove a definitive link between mortality salience and consumer behavior."