3 Scientific Theories that Explain Our Obsession with Gifting.
Co Founder - CEO
We often discount our own society’s extreme consumer behaviour around the holidays and gifts, but before we write these off as superfluous and extravagant, let’s take a closer look.
In fact, our extreme Festive seasons, newly-invented Hallmark holidays, and desire to celebrate our pets makes a lot of sense. Here are three scientific theories that explain our need to gather and gift.
The Theory of Evolution
You are probably aware of this theory! We now know that the human species is so successful because of our ability to work together. We benefit as a species from helping each other and cooperating.
A gift is a way to help someone, to connect with someone, to build trust, and to show a desire to cooperate. So while giving a perfect gift makes us feel really good about ourselves, it also makes us a more successful species.
The Theory of Reciprocal Altruism
This theory was constructed by a scientist named Robert Tivers. He states that we incur the cost of helping someone else because we know that person will help us when we need it at a later date.
In this theory, a gift acts as an insurance policy. If I gift something to you, then I can feel confident knowing that you will gift something to me — whether its an actual physical gift or simply your time and knowledge.
The Theory of Kin Selection
Lastly, William Hamilton’s theory of “Kin Selection” takes reciprocity to a new level and explains why we still spend Christmas with our family, even when they drive us a little crazy.
In his theory, Hamilton explains, that as with all other species on the planet, humans are especially helpful to family members. This is because we share the most number of genes with our family. So, if we help them out, it means that they are more likely to survive and eventually pass on these genes that we share with them. In other words, we are looking after our own genetic interests by helping relatives.
At the end of the day, one could argue that gifts keep us safe, which is a primary need among all humans! We need to feel part of a community. We need to feel like we have allies to cooperate with. And we need to feel like when we need help, someone will be there!
So the next time you get an invite to a gender reveal, a dog birthday, the umpteenth leaving do, or any other additional holiday that might feel unnecessary, just remember that according to our DNA, it’s completely necessary! Maybe even make the most of it with an awesome gift.
Check out Emblem.gift — we take all of the stress out of gifting and make it fun (and evolutionarily friendly) for you!