Navigation Links
Experiences Bring More Joy Than Possessions Do

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:
Related Image:
Experiences Bring More Joy Than Possessions Do
(Date:11/25/2015)... BROOK, Ill. (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... larger and potentially more aggressive than those found on mammography, according to a ... MRI findings of additional cancers not seen on mammography may necessitate a change ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 2015 , ... As part of a global movement to ... together who want to combine talents and resources to help create sustainable communities ... The non-profit launched its first major fundraiser on November 6, 2015 at Bent ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... The holiday season ... and pleasing the palates of attendees is of the utmost importance. Whether you ... seasonal get-together, give these recipes a try this holiday season. , Turkey Croquettes ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Finnleo, a leader in ... on several models of traditional and far-infrared saunas. , For traditional saunas, ... the most traditional Finnish sauna wood, and Finnleo uses only European Grade A Nordic ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... has been recognized once again for its stellar workplace culture with the company’s ... , Medical Solutions’ Cincinnati office was named a finalist in Cincinnati ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015 Allergan plc (NYSE: ... and Rugen Therapeutics, a start-up  biotechnology company focused ... CNS disorders and funded by the F-Prime Biomedical ... entered into an exclusive collaboration to support the ... Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Obsessive Compulsive disorders (OCD). ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 USP 800 applies to ... (e.g. pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, ... chapter also covers all entities which store, prepare, ... other healthcare institutions, patient treatment clinics, physicians, practice ... --> What is the purpose ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Asia -based venture ... and the New Investors will make a direct equity ... private placement. The financing will help IOPtima to continue ... in the treatment of glaucoma, as well as to ... system with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, commencing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: