More intense sensory experiences can help restore our self-esteem. Batra and Ghoshal determined via four studies that “not only do individuals facing self-threat prefer high-intensity sensory consumption (HISC) but also that this consumption restores their self-worth. . . . The findings are documented in both the visual domain (as evidenced by a preference for more intense and saturated colors) and the auditory domain (as evidenced by a preference for louder audio levels). The consumption of high-intensity sensory stimuli elevates individuals’ arousal levels, which in turn minimizes rumination [musing] on thoughts related to the threat and thus restores one’s self-worth. The distractive nature of HISC and its subsequent impact on self-worth restoration is shown to operate regardless of the valence of the sensory consumption [whether it’s positive or negative].”
Rishtee Batra and Tanuka Ghoshal. “Fill Up Your Senses: A Theory of Self-Worth Restoration Through High-Intensity Sensory Consumption.” Journal of Consumer Research, in press.