The Gift of Psychological Closeness: How Feasible Versus Desirable Gifts Reduce Psychological Distance to the Giver.

Journal Article

Gift-giving is a common form of social exchange but little research has examined how different gift types affect the psychological distance between giver and recipient. We examined how two types of gifts influence recipients' perceived psychological distance to the giver. Specifically, we compared desirable gifts focused on the quality of the gift with feasible gifts focused on the gift's practicality or ease of use. We found that feasible (vs. desirable) gifts led recipients to feel psychologically closer to givers (Studies 1-4). Further clarifying the process by which receiving a desirable versus feasible gift affects perceived distance, when recipients were told that the giver focused on the gift's practicality or ease of use (vs. the gift's overall quality), while holding the specific features of the gifts constant, they felt closer to the gift-giver (Study 5). These results shed light on how different gifts can influence interpersonal relationships.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rim, S; Min, KE; Liu, PJ; Chartrand, TL; Trope, Y

Published Date

  • March 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 45 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 360 - 371

PubMed ID

  • 30027819

Pubmed Central ID

  • 30027819

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-7433

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0146-1672

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0146167218784899


  • eng