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drugsPeople participate in auctions all the time. There are well over 5,000 auctions every day in the United States and they all need bidders.

These bidders go to buy things they want or need. But do they have another less obvious need?

I’m going to suggest for many, they have a need to bid. This need to bid might be equated to the need to participate, compete, gamble, win …

In a recent study by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology bidders at auction had a more profound emotional response to losing than winning. In other words, as the study noted, “Losing is worse than the good feelings associated with winning.”

Thus, a high bidder at $500 might well be prepared to bid $550 if someone else bids $525 desiring the thrill of being out as $525 so he can bid $550. Could it be from an emotional standpoint, the $500 bidder actually prefers someone to bid $525 so he can bid $550?

I’ve been known to say for decades to one-time bidders who then are out, “You have to bid twice, it’s a state law …” when of course it’s not. Yet, they usually bid again which suggests to me that there may be a heightened emotional response to being out, and then back in.

Wining, losing, winning, losing, winning … more profound than either just winning or losing?

If you’re an auctioneer, when was the last time someone started the bid on a property, then someone else bid, and then the original bidder bowed out? It seems from conducting thousands of auctions over 30 years, it’s a rare occurrence that someone is the first bidder who then won’t bid again if necessary.

Emotionally what’s going on might be that a bidder bids to win, but knows that if someone else bids, he’ll experience a heightened emotional state, and can bid again to then possibly experience it again subsequent?

Many say, “It’s the journey, rather than the destination.” Thus, is the process of bidding to become the high bidder more enjoyable or rewarding than being the high bidder? I think so.

How many International Auctioneer Championship, World Automobile Auctioneers Championship and World Livestock Auctioneer Championship champions say that they miss competing in those contests? Is that another way of saying that winning is better than being the winner?

As well, how many drug abusers report that getting high on drugs is better than being high on drugs. It may not be all that different than what we’re describing here. Further, I noticed this article today on this same subject: http://elitedaily.com/dating/lost-art-tease-sex/

Do bidders want to win? Yes. Do they feel a need to bid? Definitely.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.