Navigation Links
Experiences Bring More Joy Than Possessions Do
Date:2/9/2009

Buying an outing, like going to the beach, boosts well-being, study suggests,,,,

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Although everyone knows that money can't buy happiness, purchasing life experiences instead of material possessions may increase your well-being, new research suggests.

In a study that asked more than 150 older college students to rate a recent purchase intended to make them happy, researchers found that people were more satisfied with purchases of life experiences, such as a trip to the beach or for a meal.

There are likely a few reasons this is true, said study co-author Ryan Howell, an assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University. One may be that purchasing life experiences often brings someone closer to another person and satisfies a natural human need to be connected to others.

Another reason is that experiences provide "memory capital" that you can draw on in less happy times.

"Once you buy something, there's no reason to hold that memory," explained Howell. "But with a life experience, you can't take anything home. The only thing you can take with you is a memory, and we tend to focus our memories on the intense emotion we felt during the experience or on how it ended. Memories have an inherent bias, and you remember the best parts of life experiences."

The findings were presented this weekend at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting, in Tampa, Fla.

Howell's study included 154 students from San Francisco State University, average age 25. About one-third of the group was white, nearly one-quarter were Asian-American, 11 percent were multi-racial, 15 percent were Hispanic, and about 4 percent were black, Howell said.

The researchers asked each student to rate a recent purchase they made specifically with the intent of increasing their happiness. Half were told to write about a life experience purchase, while the other half was asked to write about a material purchase. Howell said they asked for purchases made with the intent of increasing happiness so they didn't end up comparing a trip to the beach purchase to a box of pencils.

The students reported feeling more alive and invigorated with the purchase of a life experience, said Howell.

The really good news from his study, given today's economic climate, is that life experience purchases don't have to be expensive to bring happiness, said Howell.

"A lot of the experiences were physical activities, like paying for park or beach admission," Howell noted.

However, Howell said that the findings probably don't apply to everyone. If you can't pay your mortgage, material things might increase your happiness more.

"As people drop closer to the poverty line, they tend to get more satisfaction with material things. The effect of purchasing life experiences probably becomes strong as you become more wealthy," he said.

"In this economy, being able to buy an item or an experience just for happiness is a luxury. I wonder for those who haven't had their basic needs met, if this would help as well?" said Katherine L. Muller, director of the cognitive behavior therapy program at Montefiore Medical Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

"But if you do have disposable income, this could be something to consider, and you might want to make a conscious choice to try an experiential purchase," Muller said. "I think there's real value in the idea that memory is really the only thing you can take with you. And, social connectedness definitely creates more of an imprint, perhaps making the purchase more salient, because you shared it."

More information

Learn more about positive psychology and the pursuit of happiness from the American Psychological Association.



SOURCES: Ryan Howell, Ph.D., assistant professor, psychology, San Francisco State University; Katherine L. Muller, Psy.D., director, psychology training and cognitive behavior therapy program, Montefiore Medical Center, and assistant professor, psychiatry and behaviorial sciences, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Feb. 7, 2009, presentation, Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting, Tampa, Fla.


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Guardians Dental Network Experiences Double-Digit Growth
2. WellPoint Taps Zagat Survey to Help Consumers Rate Experiences with Their Doctors
3. Greenway Experiences Quick Success in the Community EHR Marketplace by Securing Contracts with 10 Community-Based Health Organizations
4. Blind Tibetan Teenagers Featured in Award-Winning Film, Blindsight, Unite with Students from Junior Blind of America to Share Life Experiences
5. Candidate Experiences Life in Homecare Workers Shoes
6. MedAptus Experiences Record Growth of 70 Percent
7. Introspective experiences inform inferences about similar people -- but not dissimilar
8. Increasing positive experiences decreases depression symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis
9. OneTouch(R) Laugh & Learn Sweepstakes to Award Scholarships for Summer Camp Experiences to Children with Diabetes
10. Greenway Medical Technologies Experiences Continued Growth in OB/GYN Marketplace
11. New research shows consistency in synaesthetic experiences
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Experiences Bring More Joy Than Possessions Do
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... loans more flexibility in repaying their loans, more information about their loan terms ... when total outstanding student loan debt, including federal and private loans, has reached ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... Petersburg, Fla. (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 ... ... Children’s Hospital surgeon reveals that infants born with severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia have ... babies is born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)—a condition where the diaphragm fails ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Mobility Designed is redefining mobility with ... armpits, the M+D Crutch evenly distributes body weight from the elbow to the forearm. ... using the crutches than with other crutches. , Co-founders Max and Liliana Younger were ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... , ... Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer. Although only about 1 percent of ... deaths. More than 10,000 people are expected to die of melanoma this year. The risk ... one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in young women. A recent breakthrough in genetic ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... , ... Reltok Nasal Products proudly announces that Boston Medical Products, Inc., a ... throat specialty, has added the KOTLER NASAL AIRWAY™ to its diverse product line. , ... patented safety device secured by nasal surgeons onto the floor of the nasal passages, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 ... Review, H1 2016" is a report that provides ... helps strengthen R&D pipelines by identifying new targets ... Company Profiles discussed in this H1 ... Farmaceutiche Riunite Srl, AbbVie Inc., Abiogen Pharma S.p.A., ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... Italy , April 27, 2016 ... linear accelerator (MR-linac) platform will be the focal point ... meeting of the European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology, ... Elekta,s MR-linac integrates a state-of-the-art radiotherapy system and a ... physician to clearly see the patient,s anatomy in real ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... April 27, 2016 Shire plc (LSE: ... Poulton , Chief Financial Officer, will present at the Deutsche ... MA on Wednesday, May 04, 2016, 10:00 am ... be available on the Presentations and Webcasts section of Shire,s ... the webcast will be available on this same website for ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: