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Money Can't Buy Happiness Essay

1163 Words5 Pages

Since man invented money, the question has been asked: Can money buy happiness? Recently, research has given us a much better understanding of the relationship between what we earn and how we feel. Economists have been studying the links between income and happiness across nations, and psychologists have performed innumerable studies to discover our true feelings about money. Studies consistently show that people who agree with statements like “You will buy things just because you want them,” tend to be less satisfied with life, less happy, and more likely to be depressed.

But, just like studies examining the connection between success and happiness, many of the findings are correlational. As a result we can’t say for sure that…show more content…

Then, after about a week, the same participants were given back their own descriptions of their purchases and asked to reflect on it. Again, they were asked to report on their feelings in the moment.

Comparing these two groups provided a way of comparing how participants felt about two different types of purchases. The results showed that participants felt better when they were contemplating their experiential purchases than their material purchases.

Thinking about experience

As a result of this experiment, Van Boven & Gilovich predicted that people spend more time overall contemplating their experiential rather than material purchases. To test this out they asked participants to think about experiential and material purchases they were particularly happy with. Then they were asked which they thought about more often. The results clearly showed it was the experiential purchases people thought about more often (83%).

Why do experiences fare better than possessions?

It seems, then, that at some level we understand that our experiential purchases give us more pleasure than our material purchases. But why is that? Van Boven (2005) suggests three reasons:

1. Experiences improve with time (possessions don’t).
The reason why experiences improve with time may be because it is possible to think about experiences in a more abstract manner than possessions. For example if you think back to a fantastic summer from your youth, you might

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