Can Money Buy Happiness After All? New Research Website Confirms Recent Scientific Findings: Experiential Buyers Of All Kinds Are Happier

Early analyses of data collected from the website BeyondThePurchase.org confirm recent findings that people who habitually spend their money on experiences tend to be happier than those who regularly purchase material items.

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Life experiences, by nature, are more social, which attracts extraverts. They also contain an element of risk, which appeals to seekers of novelty. If you try a new experience that you don't like, you can't return it to the store for a refund.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) April 18, 2012

People who regularly spend money on experiences tend to be happier than those who habitually purchase material items—regardless of who they are. That is one of several preliminary findings from data collected at BeyondThePurchase.org, an academic website where the public can take psychological surveys for research purposes.

Results also revealed that males and females were equally likely to purchase experiences, as were liberals and conservatives. People tended to become more experiential as they got older, but there were no differences found for socio-economic status or religion.

While several recent studies have shown that purchasing an experience is more likely to increase happiness than buying a material object, this is among the first studies attempting to determine the sociodemographic and psychological profiles of people who regularly purchase experiences.

“We’re excited about these results,” said Ryan Howell, Ph.D., co-founder of Beyond The Purchase and assistant professor at San Francisco State University. “They show that people from all walks of life are experiential buyers.”

"Some of the most important psychological research illuminates truths that we often know at a deeper level," said Ravi Iyer, Ph.D., co-founder, researcher at the University of Southern California, and data scientist at Ranker.com. "Most of us know that the money we spend doesn't buy us as much happiness as we would like, and we are hopeful that this website gives people ideas as to how they may be able to buy more happiness with their income."

There were, however, distinct personality traits associated with experiential buyers. Not surprisingly, experiential consumers tended to be more extraverted and open to experience.

"The experiential personality profile makes sense,” Howell explained. “Life experiences, by nature, are more social, which attracts extraverts. They also contain an element of risk, which appeals to seekers of novelty. If you try a new experience that you don't like, you can't return it to the store for a refund.”

These results corroborate a recently published study by Howell, Paulina Pchelin, and Ravi Iyer in the Journal of Positive Psychology, which found that extraverts and people who are open to new experiences spend more of their income on experiences.

“It’s very encouraging to see that the data we’re collecting from BeyondThePurchase.org is capturing the same psychological phenomena we’ve found with past published samples, said Howell. “Our goal is to continue to make this website a scientifically grounded tool for individuals to participate in scholastic research, while also learning more about their own beliefs, behaviors, and well-being.

BeyondThePurchase.org launched in late January 2012 as an academic website to engage the public in psychological research. To date, there are nearly 1,500 registered users who can take any number of the 30 posted surveys related to spending habits, happiness, personality, values, and many other topics of both general and scientific interest. Users receive personalized feedback after completing each survey, and are also presented with how their responses compared with the average of other users. BeyondThePurchase.org is an educational and scientific resource provided at no cost to the public, and data collected on BeyondThePurchase.org is used solely to further scientific knowledge of consumer behavior and well-being.

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Visit the Beyond the Purchase website at http://www.beyondthepurchase.org
Contact Professor Ryan Howell at (909) 560-1691 (Cell) or rhowell@sfsu.edu


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