SFU psychologist Lara Aknin

Psychology, Research

Study: giving a gift that reflects you rather than your valentine strengthens relationships

February 14, 2017

Psychologist Lara Aknin has a tip for Valentine’s gifters. If you want to ensure your gift inspires feelings of closeness, give a gift that reflects you rather than your valentine.

Aknin and her collaborator, professor Lauren Human of McGill University, conducted six studies examining what types of gifts we should choose when trying to foster a connection with those we care about. Their results were published in a paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in 2015.

Aknin discovered, surprisingly, that while people generally prefer to give and receive gifts that reflect the recipient’s likes and interests, givers and receivers tend to feel greater closeness from gifts that reflect the giver.