An honest answer to the question "What are you doing this weekend?" would probably be "Oh nothing, just getting into a fight with my significant other at IKEA." It turns out there's a reason arguing in the presence of reasonably priced Scandinavian furniture is so ubiquitous—especially among those in relationships. Obviously intrigued by this phenomenon, Vice's Yasmin Jeffrey approached more than one psychologist about what exactly propels couples to incite World War III in front of a well-appointed kitchen display.
"IKEA makes you visualize what it would be like to consume their products by presenting ready-made kitchens, model bedrooms, and bathrooms," explained Dr. Gorkan Ahmetoglu, a lecturer in Business Psychology at UCL, to Jeffery. "The easier it is to imagine using a product, the more likely you are to want to buy it—it's called availability bias."
The kicker? This can very psychologically disorienting, to the point where you feel overly comfortable in the presence of these furniture displays, despite being in public. "A lot of these influences are subconscious, and even if people realize they're being manipulated, they're unable to resist it because the brain doesn't have the capacity to process these things properly," concluded Dr. Ahmetoglu. The result? Fights erupt. About anything, and everything. As chronicled by Jeffrey, couples at IKEA fight about cheese graters, copper lighting accessories, laundry baskets, stationary—the list goes on.
Shop our favorite IKEA products from its new 2017 catalog, and tell us: What have you fought about with your significant other at IKEA?