Photograph — Vista Wallpaper

It is official, tomorrow, the 14th of February is Valentine’s day and it’s a day many people around the world express admiration for their loved ones; in some cases this extends to strangers as well. Valentine’s day showcases love in different ways – whether it is booking holiday trips for your spouse or lover or buying gifts for strangers and orphans.

Although, many frown at the holiday, claiming it breeds obscene behavior, truth is, Valentine’s day is still well celebrated by most. Yesterday, a district in Pakistan called Kohat, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, placed a ban on the sale of Valentine’s day cards and gifts.

Gifting means different things to different people. But even though giving gifts on valentine’s day may be dependent on social, economic and personal factors, these human behavior analysts have helped in explaining the intentions behind behaviours which could be linked to gifting. It may be helpful to find out what, exactly, your significant other or friend was thinking when they got you that spectacular or simple gift!

Theory of reasoned action

This study model was coined by Martin Fishbein and Icek Azjen in 1975. This theory focuses on a person’s voluntary behaviour, which is based on his or her attitude and how they think other people would view them if they performed the behaviour. A person’s attitude, combined with subjective norms, forms his or her behavioural intention. For instance, if a single woman from a traditional and close-knit family, gets a rose flower and an engagement ring proposing marriage from her man, he is open to starting a life with her and believes her family members and friends will appreciate that more than if he took her on a romantic getaway with no promise of a long term commitment.

Theory of planned behaviour

This model was coined by Icek Azjen in 1988. It states that behavioural achievement depends on both motivation (intention) and ability (behavioural control). It distinguishes between three types of beliefs – behavioural, normative and control. This basically means that for whatever behaviour the giver puts up, he or she is trying to arouse change in the receiver through his/her behaviour. For instance, if a man does not fancy jazz music but will love to own a turntable and his wife gives him a turntable with jazz records as a valentine gift, she may be trying to effect change in him, so he can begin to enjoy jazz music.

The MCM theory

The Miniard and Cohen model was coined by Paul W. Miniard and Joel B. Cohen in 1983. They suggest that informational influence should be reflected only in one’s personal attitudes and should be unrelated to normative beliefs about behaviour. They have disputed the first two theories saying they imply that individuals cannot make decisive choices on their own. In relation to picking out valentine’s day gifts, this model could be a bit one-sided as the giver only focuses on what he or she likes and is comfortable with sparing no consideration for the receiver. For instance, a man gives his wife a 3D-Boondocks movie when he is aware she does not care about animation.

So, which category do you fall under?

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