Study Shows Using Your Credit Card Gives You a Cocaine-Like High

Leading to more purchases.

Do you ever feel an unexplainable rush when paying with your credit card? Well, it's not something you're imagining. Apparently, it's all in your head—literally your brain.

Previous studies have shown that people spend more when making a credit card purchase. And, scientists have always wondered why that is. A new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has finally solved the case: paying with a credit card activates a part of the brain called the striatum.

Stay with us here, this is about to get scientific. The striatum is a reward center in your brain that is exploited by drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, and the like. What the essentially means is you get a high that drives an increase in purchases.

"The reward networks in the brain that are activated by all kinds of rewards are activated by a credit card purchase. 'The act of putting that plastic credit card in your hand is associated with enjoyable purchases," says study co-author professor Drazer Prelec.

Interestingly, different types of cards give you different types of spending. "The card you use for restaurants and vacations creates a different appetite for spending than the card you use to buy gas for your card," Prelec added.


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About The Author
Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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