A Neurological Study of Compulsive Buying Behaviour

Abstract

The following article describes a study of the neural correlates of compulsive buying. Twenty-six non-compulsive (“normal”) and 23 compulsive buyers were measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing purchasing decisions. The compulsive buyers were selected based on strict criteria, such that they were all undergoing psychotherapeutic treatment due to their buying behaviour. The results show evidence of significant differences between non-compulsive and compulsive buyers regarding brain activity in regions known to be involved in decision making. The findings give a deeper insight into the nature of compulsive buying and are relevant to consumer policy.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the invaluable help of Kathrin Paul and Joachim von Hunnius and the helpful comments of two anonymous reviewers. This work was supported in part by grants from the “Klaus Tschira Foundation” no. 00.148.2009.

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Correspondence to Gerhard Raab.

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Raab, G., Elger, C.E., Neuner, M. et al. A Neurological Study of Compulsive Buying Behaviour. J Consum Policy 34, 401 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10603-011-9168-3

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Keywords

  • Compulsive buying
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Consumer research
  • Consumer policy
  • Neuroeconomics