Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are you a happy shopper? Research website helps you find out

Date:
January 26, 2012
Source:
San Francisco State University
Summary:
Psychologists have found that buying experiences makes people happier than possessions, but who spends their spare cash on experiences? Extraverts and people who are open to new experiences are more likely to make a habit of "experience shopping" and are happier as a result, according to new research.

Psychologists have found that buying life experiences makes people happier than buying possessions, but who spends more of their spare cash on experiences? New findings published this week in the Journal of Positive Psychology reveal extraverts and people who are open to new experiences tend to spend more of their disposable income on experiences, such as concert tickets or a weekend away, rather than hitting the mall for material items.

These habitual "experiential shoppers" reaped long-term benefits from their spending: They reported greater life satisfaction, according to the study led by San Francisco State University Assistant Professor of Psychology Ryan Howell.

To further investigate how purchasing decisions impact well-being, Howell and colleagues have launched a website where members of the public can take free surveys to find out what kind of shopper they are and how their spending choices affect them. Data collected through the "Beyond the Purchase" website will be used by Howell and other social psychologists.

Graduate students in Howell's Personality and Well-being Lab will use the site to study the link between spending motivations and well-being, and how money management influences our financial and purchasing choices.

For his latest study, Howell and colleagues surveyed nearly10,000 participants, who completed online questionnaires about their shopping habits, personality traits, values and life satisfaction.

"We know that being an 'experience shopper' is linked to greater wellbeing," said Howell, whose 2009 paper on purchasing experiences, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, challenged the adage that money can't buy happiness. "But we wanted to find out why some people gravitate toward buying experiences."

Participants' personality was measured using the "Big Five" personality traits model, a scale psychologists use to describe how extraverted, neurotic, open, conscientious and agreeable a person is. People who spent most of their disposable income on experiences scored highly on the "extravert" and "openness to new experience" scales.

"This personality profile makes sense since life experiences are inherently more social, and they also contain an element of risk," Howell said. "If you try a new experience that you don't like, you can't return it to the store for a refund."

The authors suggest that it could be easier to change your spending habits than your personality traits. "Even for people who naturally find themselves drawn to material purchases, our results suggest that getting more of a balance between traditional purchases and those that provide you with an experience could lead to greater life satisfaction and wellbeing."

Visit the Beyond the Purchase website at http://www.beyondthepurchase.org


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Ryan T. Howell, Paulina Pchelin, Ravi Iyer. The preference for experiences over possessions: Measurement and construct validation of the Experiential Buying Tendency Scale. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2012; 7 (1): 57 DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2011.626791

Cite This Page:

San Francisco State University. "Are you a happy shopper? Research website helps you find out." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126143656.htm>.
San Francisco State University. (2012, January 26). Are you a happy shopper? Research website helps you find out. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126143656.htm
San Francisco State University. "Are you a happy shopper? Research website helps you find out." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126143656.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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