Transform Your Gift Giving Strategy with These Scientific Insights

Transform Your Gift Giving Strategy with These Scientific Insights

Science…. one of my favourite topics! I love the intrigue and the magic of the world. I love watching the delight on my children’s faces when we do science experiments at home.

If you weren’t aware, my background is in science teaching and I loved it!

It seems on the surface that corporate gifting and science teaching are worlds apart…. but really, there is significant evidence to suggest that understanding the science in gifting can give you the upper hand into how to be a successful gifter. Being able to understand the brain and all the ‘feel good’ brain chemicals, gives us huge insight into gifting across multiple industries.

We all know that we ‘should’ be giving gifts, but what actually happens in the brain of the giver and the receiver might shock you. It might also make you realise the importance of gift giving in the business world.

There is clear cut scientific evidence that you can get the edge over your competitors by investing in a successful business gifting program.

Don’t believe us?…. Science doesn’t lie!

Giving a gift isn’t just about material transfer. There are measurable social and neurological benefits. Gifts “reinforce bonds and relationships between people”, says Dr Mark Williams, professor of cognitive neuroscience at Macquarie University. [1]

Dr Williams says “we get a release of dopamine” when giving and receiving gifts – which means gift giving creates pleasure. “That dopamine interacts with our memory centres,” he adds, so a good gift can reinforce a positive impression of the giver, creating a stronger bond in the long run. [1]

So when we look at the science of it, gift giving is not just an act of kindness but a psychological and emotional experience that has spanned cultures and civilizations throughout history. Our desire to give gifts, highlights our inherent human need to connect, appreciate, and reciprocate [2][4]. The science of gifting reveals that both giving and receiving thoughtful gifts not only enhance self-worth and validate relationships but also trigger the release of happiness-inducing endorphins and oxytocin, fostering a sense of connection and trust. [2][3].

Strong gifting strategies are aimed at optimising the happiness and satisfaction of both the giver and the recipient, and ultimately, enhancing business relationships and return on investment [2][4].

The Science of Gifting

So why should we gift and how do we do it better?

Here are some strong scientific reasons to improve your gifting game!


Emerging findings indicate that the neurotransmitter dopamine, plays a crucial role in the creation of long-term memory. Experiences live on in our memories and stories, continually adding to our happiness whenever we recount them [5].

Dr Williams says “we get a release of dopamine” when giving and receiving gifts – which means gift giving creates pleasure. He goes on to add that, “dopamine interacts with our memory centres,” , so a good gift can reinforce a positive impression of the giver, creating a stronger bond in the long run. [1]

Surprise Element

Similarly, a fun surprise or unexpected gift causes dopamine levels to spike in the receiver’s brain. This ‘feel-good’ hormone, controls people’s motivations and directly correlates to mood and impacts trust, decision-making and pleasure - meaning, giving an unexpected gift can be more memorable [4].

Health Benefits

That's right! - there are health benefits to gift giving! Beyond emotional benefits, gift-giving can also lead to physical health benefits such as reduced blood pressure and lower rates of heart disease, attributed to the stress-reducing nature of showing generosity and care [8]. How? According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness like gift giving, create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin, which in turn causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide assists to dilate the blood vessels reducing blood pressure. Because of this effect, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. [9]

Brain's Reward Mechanisms

Giving gifts activates the brain’s reward center, releasing dopamine, which triggers feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. This phenomenon is often referred to as the "helper's high" [6][7]. This 'helper's high' can have a lasting impact on a persons mood and therefore their productivity.

So if we look at these scientific and psychological impacts of gifting, it is clear that the effects of gift giving extends far beyond the exchange of items. We can clearly see the social, emotional and even health impacts that gift giving can provide for both the gift giver and the gift recipient, but there is also clear evidence to support that the act of gifting can solidify relationships and create lasting memories.

By considering these scientific insights, we can elevate our gift-giving strategies to not only meet but exceed the expectations of valuable clients and staff, thereby enriching our connections and reinforcing our relationships in meaningful and lasting ways.

So next time you need to consider gifting within your business, think about the scientific benefits it can have on both you and your lucky gift recipient!


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