Why it's hard to buy gifts for friends

Every buy a gift for someone that you're absolutely certain they'll love only to realize that you're totally off the mark? New research suggests that the better you know someone, the harder it can be to predict their taste. According to researchers at Tilburg University and Kathiolieke University, we rely too heavily on preconceived notions because we often think we're much more similar to the people we love than we actually are. From a Journal of Consumer Research news release:

"Our results suggest that familiarity caused [people] to put an overly heavy weight on pre-stored information," write the authors. "The pre-stored information that people possess about their partner is extensive. This elaborate knowledge makes predictors overly confident, such that they do not even attend to product-specific attitude feedback."

In fact, the couples who participated in the study (all of whom had been dating for at least six months), were more likely to pay attention to feedback about their partner's preferences when they were told they were the attitudes of a complete stranger.