When some people travel to a new city, they’ll look for the first Starbucks they can find, even if there are lots of other options out there. It’s familiar, and you can depend on the quality of the product.Which is why Americans, who are among the most transient people in the world, are most addicted to chain stores.
In this month’s edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a research team led by Shigehiro Oishi and Felicity Miao performed a few experiments that support this theory (via Psychology Today.
In one experiment, they asked 100 East Coast college students to imagine that they were in California, and gave them the choice between shopping at Whole Foods and a local grocery store. Also measuring for personality and other variables, the researchers found that “the number of times that people moved was positively related to the number of times that people picked the chain store over the local store in this task.”
In another, they determined that, based off the 2000 census, the most mobile cities have the most chain stores. According to the study:
“Why are American landscapes (e.g., housing developments, shopping malls) so uniform, despite the well-known American penchant for independence and uniqueness? We propose that this paradox can be explained by American mobility.”
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