Episode 78: The Psychology of Tipping

MichaelResearch and Stats, Social Psychology5 Comments

Picture of a waitressHow can waiters increase their tips? Would you believe psychologists have devoted a great deal of research to this question? We’ve looked at the effect of smiley faces, touching, crouching, telling jokes, giving customers a fun task to do, and drawing suns on checks (yes, suns). Join me as we take a look at what waiters and waitresses can do to increase the amount of the tip their customers give them.

Web Resources on How to Increase Your Tips

  • One of there researchers listed below and an experienced “…bartender, busboy, and waiter..” is William Michael Lynn. His website has a good deal of information about what you can do to increase your tips.


Research Articles on the Psychology of Tipping

  • van Baaren, R.B., Holland, R.W., steenaert, B. & van Knippenberg, A. (2003). Mimicry for money: behavioral consequences of imitation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39, 393-398.
  • Gueguen, N. (2002). The effects of a joke on tipping when it is delivered at the same time as the bill. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32, 1955-1963.
  • Rind, B. & Strohmetz, D. (2001). Effect on restaurant tipping of presenting customers with an interesting task and of reciprocity. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31, 1379-1384.
  • Gueguen, N & Legoherel, P. (2000). Effect of Tipping of Barman Drawing a Sun on the bottom of customer’s checks. Psychological Reports, 87, 223-226.
  • McCall, M. & Belmont, H. J. (1996). Credit card insignia and restaurant tipping: Evidence for an associative link. Journal of Applied Psychology,81(5), 609-613.
  • Rind, B. & Bordia, P. (1995). Effect of server’s “thank you” and presonalization on restaurant tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25, 745-751.
  • Hornik, J. (1992). Tactile Stimulation and Consumer Response. Journal of Consumer Research, 19, 449-457.
  • Lynn, M. & Mynier, K. (1993). Effect of server posture on restaurant tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 23, 678-685.
  • Stephen, R. & Zweigenhaft, R. (1985). The effect on tipping of a waitress touching male and female customers. Journal of Social Psychology, 126(1), 141-142.


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5 Comments on “Episode 78: The Psychology of Tipping”

  1. Pingback: Tipping… are they playing us?! | Law Legalese and Psychos...

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  3. Hello Michael,

    First time commenting on your blog although I’ve listened to almost 100 episodes of your amazing show! I’m a fellow podcaster and positive psychologist, so I’m happy to finally be here thanking you for sustained efforts and generosity!

    The reason I’m here outside of iTunes is because my younger brother’s getting himself through college as a waiter and was thinking, “HE HAS TO LISTEN TO THIS!” So I’m sharing the link with him — perhaps you’ll get another listener!

    Thanks again for your generosity & your wonderful show! You’re a star!

  4. Nicholas: thanks for your very kind words. I hope your younger brother can use this episode to make a little more money for college! And you’ve only listened to 100 episodes? Got 80+ to go! thanks again

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