Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Buying life experiences to impress others removes happiness boost

Date:
June 18, 2012
Source:
San Francisco State University
Summary:
Spending money on activities and events, such as concert tickets or exotic vacations, won't make you happier if you're doing it to impress others, according to new findings. Research has shown that consumers gain greater happiness from buying life experiences rather than material possessions, but only if they choose experiences for the right reasons says the new study.

Spending money on activities and events, such as concert tickets or exotic vacations, won't make you happier if you're doing it to impress others, according to findings published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

Research has shown that consumers gain greater happiness from buying life experiences rather than material possessions, but only if they choose experiences for the right reasons says the new study.

"Why you buy is just as important as what you buy," said Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University. "When people buy life experiences to impress others, it wipes out the well-being they receive from the purchase. That extrinsic motivation appears to undermine how the experiential purchase meets their key psychological needs."

The study builds on Howell's previous findings, which suggest that people who buy life experiences are happier because experiential purchasing helps fulfill psychological needs that are vital for human growth and well-being. These include the need to feel competent, autonomous -- or self-directed -- and connected to others.

For the present study, Howell and colleagues surveyed 241 participants and found that a person's motivation for making a purchase predicts whether these needs will be met. Howell conducted the research with Jia Wei Zhang, a student in his lab, and University of Rochester researcher Peter Caprariello.

They found that people who choose to buy life experiences because it is in line with their desires, interests and values reported a greater sense of fulfillment and well-being. They felt more autonomous, competent and connected to others, less loneliness and a greater sense of vitality.

Individuals who choose life experiences to gain recognition from others reported feeling less autonomous, competent and connected to others.

"The biggest question you have to ask yourself is why you are buying something," Howell said. "Motivation appears to amplify or eliminate the happiness effect of a purchase."

As part of the study, the researchers developed and validated a new survey to measure individuals' motivations for experiential buying. Members of the public can take the survey by visiting the "Beyond the Purchase" website. Howell and colleagues launched the website to collect data for academic studies and allow members of the public to take free psychology quizzes to find out what kind of shopper they are and how their spending choices affect them. 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. Jia Wei Zhang, Ryan T. Howell, Peter A. Caprariello. Buying Life Experiences for the “Right” Reasons: A Validation of the Motivations for Experiential Buying Scale. Journal of Happiness Studies, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s10902-012-9357-z

Cite This Page:

San Francisco State University. "Buying life experiences to impress others removes happiness boost." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120618161905.htm>.
San Francisco State University. (2012, June 18). Buying life experiences to impress others removes happiness boost. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120618161905.htm
San Francisco State University. "Buying life experiences to impress others removes happiness boost." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120618161905.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. 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