The ‘glow’ of getting something for free can last as long as a week, according to new research.
Unsurprisingly, nine in 10 Brits love a good freebie and two-thirds reckon it provides a boost to their mental health.
More than one in 20 adults claim they get a buzz from a free product seven days down the line, while a quarter said the feelings of satisfaction last for a few days.
Commenting on the study carried out by Vision Direct, renowned psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos explained how receiving something for free can release hormones like dopamine.
She said: “The amazing feeling when we receive something free gives a spike of dopamine, one of four hormones that make us feel happy.
“Dopamine is released by the brain when you learn stuff, and is instrumental in habit formation.
“If you’re playing basketball and make a shot, you feel great because dopamine tells your body you did the right thing and should remember it for next time.
“However, dopamine can be problematic – we also get it when we eat, drink, or play video games – all habits that are enjoyable, but when taken to excess not necessarily healthy.
“It’s very similar psychologically to the way the brain functions after getting a freebie, especially one you weren’t expecting.
“Plus, people love to brag about how little they paid for something.”
The poll of 2,000 adults found six in 10 feel the best things in life are free – citing a walk in the countryside, a good night’s sleep and waking up to sunshine as the things which impress the most.
And surprisingly others even claim ‘getting a freebie’ is better than ‘receiving a gift.’
While 31 per cent of adults said feeling healthy and fit are among the best ‘free’ things in life – although a resounding seven in 10 admitted to taking their good health for granted, with eye care, general mobility and a healthy heart most accepted without question.
Karen Foster, research manager at Vision Direct said: “What these numbers show us is that people see healthcare as a boring administrative task.
“We feel it is our duty to relate to customers better, and in turn, changing the way they see their eye health.
“That’s why we decided to include a series of free gifts with our Black Friday savings – so people can tick both boxes.
“Being able to give someone something free, however small, can make you, and them, feel wonderful.
“In this modern life, where so much is so expensive, and things can be so hard to obtain, it’s no wonder freebies are received with open arms.”
The study, illustrated at https://www.visiondirect.co.uk/the-psychology-of-freebies, also explored how the lure of a giveaway can affect shopping habits, with half admitting they would spend an average of 11 per cent more on a purchase if came with a freebie.
Doing so makes 34 per cent feel money savvy, and 11 per cent like they’ve ‘got one over’ on a big business.
However, for 28 per cent of adults polled via OnePoll, it gives them extra justification for the thing they wanted to buy in the first place.
Dr Linda agreed that savvy brands rely on ‘connection’ with shoppers and use free goodies to make them feel like a friend.
She added: “At the basis of it, humans are creatures of reciprocity – we believe in karma and the just world hypothesis – basically, that everything evens itself out in the end.
“This even extends to social matching theory in relationships, where people tend to end up with someone of equal attractiveness to themselves.
“That reciprocity is at the core of how humans make sense of the world, and therefore with brands that tap into it.”
It also emerged that Brits are most likely to enjoy a freebie in the world of food, such as a free dessert at the end of a meal.
Other popular areas to try and get something for nothing include beauty products and services (33 per cent) clothing (32 per cent), homewares (24 per cent) and health products (17 per cent).
TOP 50 BEST ‘FREE’ THINGS IN LIFE
1. A walk in the countryside
2. A good night’s sleep
3. Waking up to sunshine
4. Spending time with your family
5. Being in nature
6. Random acts of kindness
7. Spending time with someone you love
8. Feeling healthy and fit
9. Getting a hug from someone
10. Laughing until your sides hurt
11. Seeing a beautiful sunrise
12. The start of summer
13. Hearing your partner say ‘I love you’
14. Reading a book
15. Getting something for free
16. The smell of baking
17. A lie-in
18. Being proud of your children for something they’ve done
19. Finishing work on a Friday
20. Pets making you laugh
21. Having someone cook you a meal
22. Taking a relaxing bath
23. Smelling fresh flowers
24. Visiting a new place
25. Getting a compliment from a stranger
26. Receiving gifts
27. A perfect cup of tea
28. Having eight hours sleep each night
29. A glass of water when you’re parched
30. A call from a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while
31. Looking through old photos
32. Coming home to a tidy/clean house
33. Spending time alone
34. Checking off a to do list
35. Taking off your shoes after a long day
36. Splashing in the sea
37. Being indoors on a rainy day
38. Having the first coffee/tea of the day
39. When a pet falls asleep on your lap
40. Showing gratitude to someone
41. Finding a new song you love
42. Running into an old friend unexpectedly
44. Hitting every green light on a journey
45. Taking off your bra after a long day
46. Trying something new
47. Second chances
48. Booking annual leave off from work
49. Waking up on a ‘good hair day’
50. Waking up on a ‘good skin day’