Image Credit: Reena Thomas

Shopping is a rational endeavour used by all evolved human beings. However, our senses, physiological signals, motives etc. work on rational brains and greatly influence our shopping behaviour. At times, we make impulsive and self-rewarding purchases, especially during holiday shopping. Definitely, it ensures relaxation; connectedness, boosts self-confidence and a sense of mastery. We are also pre-wired to respond to excitement in crowds. This psychological tool kept us alive and active over ages.

Our brain does pick on things that are different or new and elicit different reactions in each one of us. People develop prejudiced attitudes and form unfair or unreasonable opinions, and discriminations against a group of people or unfamiliar situations. Continuous unfairness, which we come across different races, age, and gender, have a great impact on the self-esteem and self-worth of individuals. They may suffer from inferiority complex resulting in low self-esteem and avoidance of such places for the fear of being discriminated and insulted.

For example, business strategies perpetrate ideas about what kind of “looks “or “belongings” are appropriate (and inappropriate) for both older and younger people across different racial levels. These stereotypies in turn affect people’s ability to express themselves freely through their appearance as they age or based on their ethnic/racial origin. Such strategies reinforce the tendency to discriminate against people who look ‘old’ and affect even their mind-set (example self-imposed restrictions) during shopping.

The reader is a clinical psychologist based in Dubai.