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Scarcity Principle

Definition

According to the scarcity principle, objects become more attractive when there are not very many of them. This scarcity may be either real or imagined. People assume that because others appear to want something, and it is in short supply, it must be valuable. In a classic demonstration of the scarcity principle, students were divided into two groups. One group was asked to choose a cookie from a jar with two cookies. The other group was asked to choose a cookie from a jar that contained ten cookies. Consistent with the scarcity principle, students who chose from the jar with two cookies (scarce condition) rated the cookies as more desirable than students who chose from the jar with ten cookies (plentiful condition).

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