Death Cookies

Me Must Be Dreaming!The Journal of Consumer Research recently reported on a study by two social psychologists showing people with low self-esteem shop more and eat more cookies after mulling over death. Volunteers were given the task of writing about either death or going to the dentist, those with high self-esteem were only marginally effected.

"When you indulge in shopping or eating, it helps you forget yourself. One would hope that companies do not exploit this by putting food ads straight after the news," says Dirk Smeesters at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
That seems to be the modus for most compulsion, fear and anxiety. Addiction means doing something to the point of interference with one's life including self regard, so the experiment would probably work with sex, gambling, drugs and alcohol, though I wouldn't want to test it.

(via New Scientist)