Shopping for groceries is essential for most of us, but it's surprisingly hard work. We know from our own research, involving having shoppers shop for grocery items whilst in an fMRI scanner, that it takes considerable mental effort to do a ‘big shop’.
As shoppers, we have developed mental shortcuts to deal with the cognitive effort required for regular trips to the supermarket or .com grocery site. These mental shortcuts are better known as habits. In other words, supermarket shopping, either in bricks and mortar or online has become a habit; something we need to assign a minimal mental resource to and that our brains ‘automatically’ handle for us. Incidentally, that’s partly why most people have a preferred supermarket; they find it more familiar and less mentally taxing to shop.
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