The Psychology of Cut Flowers


That’s a bold title, for sure. There is no way that a single blog post could unlock the mysteries of the mind when it comes to receiving a gift of cut flowers. However, many have studied the phenomenon, and certain common traits pop up among cut flower recipients.

Have you heard of the “Duchenne smile”? A neurologist named – wait for it – Duchenne, studied human smiles and judged them for their sincerity, or “realness.”

In a series of Rutgers University studies (partially sponsored by SAF,) Jeannette Haviland-Jones and others reported that:

  • Women who received cut flowers always flashed an authentic Duchenne smile, and their mood was upbeat for several days.
  • For men and women, receiving cut flowers elicited a Duchenne smile and more pro-social, interactive behavior, compared with receiving a gift such as a nice ink pen.
  • Elderly folks who received flowers showed a more positive mood – and even improved memory!

So, flowers yes, ink pens no! Which flies in the face of all those negative advertisements we see at Valentine’s time: “Cut flowers are boring…give her X instead.”

What’s YOUR experience? Whether you are a lady or a gent, either giving or receiving cut flowers, how does the act of giving or receiving affect your mood? Let us know in the comment section!

Again, here’s that study.