Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Psychology of Delusion 

There are many delusions we accept in society, and there is probably little PR should do about them. Take, for example, the decade-long desire among suburbanites to drive bigger and thirstier SUVs for no practical reason or the rush to buy pickup trucks they are never going to use for hauling.

This article discusses the delusion of the bigger and fancier kitchen. We put in mammoth stoves and huge refrigerators although we barely use a microwave to warm TV dinners. There is some psychological or cultural imperative that drives us to these decisions. PR often plays on these delusions to sell more products. Programs like "This Old House" show us dream renovations that few of us can afford, but we rush to Lowe's or The Home Depot and design new cabinetry.

The US runs on consumption, so in a way delusions are helpful to the economy, but one wonders if as PR practitioners we shouldn't be more honest. Or, perhaps, we should console ourselves with the thought that consumers know their desires and budgets best. Still, one looks at a lack of savings and escalating debt loads, and it is disturbing.

I would like a new kitchen though.


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