Presentation Matters: The Effect of Wrapping Neatness on Gift Attitudes

Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2019

44 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2019

See all articles by Jessica Rixom

Jessica Rixom

University of Nevada, Reno

Erick M. Mas

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

Brett A. Rixom

University of Nevada, Reno

Date Written: October 1, 2019

Abstract

While gift-givers typically wrap gifts prior to presenting them, little is known about the effect of how the gift is wrapped on recipients’ expectations and attitudes toward the gift inside. We propose that when recipients open a gift from a friend, they like it less when the giver has wrapped it neatly as opposed to sloppily and we draw on expectation disconfirmation theory to explain the effect. Specifically, recipients set higher (lower) expectations for neatly (sloppily)-wrapped gifts, making it harder (easier) for the gifts to meet these expectations, resulting in contrast effects that lead to less (more) positive attitudes toward the gifts once unwrapped. However, when the gift-giver is an acquaintance, there is ambiguity in the relationship status and wrapping neatness serves as a cue about the relationship rather than the gift itself. This leads to assimilation effects where the recipient likes the gift more when neatly wrapped. We assess these effects across three studies and find that they hold for desirable, neutral, and undesirable gifts, as well as with both hypothetical and real gifts.

Keywords: gifts, gift-giving, gift-wrap neatness, wrapping paper, expectation disconfirmation

Suggested Citation

Rixom, Jessica and Mas, Erick M. and Rixom, Brett A., Presentation Matters: The Effect of Wrapping Neatness on Gift Attitudes (October 1, 2019). Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3462836

Jessica Rixom (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Reno ( email )

United States

Erick M. Mas

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management ( email )

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Brett A. Rixom

University of Nevada, Reno ( email )

United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
37
Abstract Views
185
PlumX Metrics