Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Buying Experiences, Not Possessions, Leads To Greater Happiness

Date:
February 17, 2009
Source:
San Francisco State University
Summary:
Can money make us happy if we spend it on the right purchases? A new psychology study suggests that buying life experiences rather than material possessions leads to greater happiness for both the consumer and those around them. The study demonstrates that experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in increased satisfaction and well-being.

A new study demonstrates that experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in increased well-being because they satisfy higher order needs, specifically the need for social connectedness and vitality -- a feeling of being alive.
Credit: iStockphoto/Paul Hill

Can money make us happy if we spend it on the right purchases? A new psychology study suggests that buying life experiences rather than material possessions leads to greater happiness for both the consumer and those around them.

The study demonstrates that experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in increased well-being because they satisfy higher order needs, specifically the need for social connectedness and vitality -- a feeling of being alive.

"These findings support an extension of basic need theory, where purchases that increase psychological need satisfaction will produce the greatest well-being," said Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University.

Participants in the study were asked to write reflections and answer questions about their recent purchases. Participants indicated that experiential purchases represented money better spent and greater happiness for both themselves and others. The results also indicate that experiences produce more happiness regardless of the amount spent or the income of the consumer.

Experiences also lead to longer-term satisfaction. "Purchased experiences provide memory capital," Howell said. "We don't tend to get bored of happy memories like we do with a material object.

"People still believe that more money will make them happy, even though 35 years of research has suggested the opposite," Howell said. "Maybe this belief has held because money is making some people happy some of the time, at least when they spend it on life experiences."

"The mediators of experiential purchases: Determining the impact of psychological need satisfaction" was conducted by Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University and SF State graduate Graham Hill.

These findings will be presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting on Feb. 7.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by San Francisco State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

San Francisco State University. "Buying Experiences, Not Possessions, Leads To Greater Happiness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090207150518.htm>.
San Francisco State University. (2009, February 17). Buying Experiences, Not Possessions, Leads To Greater Happiness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090207150518.htm
San Francisco State University. "Buying Experiences, Not Possessions, Leads To Greater Happiness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090207150518.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins