The Experience Of Awe: Purchasing Experiences Can Produce Emotional Benefits

Research website BeyondThePurchase.org finds that people who purchase experiences feel more beneficial emotions such as awe and inspiration.

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Beyond The Purchase

people who consistently purchase experiences, as opposed to material items, have a significantly greater tendency to feel uplifting emotions such as awe and inspiration.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) October 05, 2012

A forthcoming article in Psychological Science found that experiencing the emotion of awe can have positive effects on a person’s overall well-being. In a series of three experiments, the authors of the study induced the feeling of awe in participants, who then answered a series of questions about their attitudes and intentions to engage in several behaviors associated with well-being.

The article examines the relationship between awe, perception of time, and pro-social behaviors. The experiments presented found that feeling awe increases people’s likeliness for a range of pro-social behaviors including self-care, volunteering, and making experiential purchases (vs. materialistic ones). The primary factor mediating awe and these outcomes is a person’s perception of time as expansive rather than contracted. The article discusses three studies with the following findings:

1.    Time perception for ‘happy’ vs. ‘awe’: People primed with an awe-inducing video clip reported a less contracted sense of time than people primed with a happiness-inducing video clip.
2.    People primed with an awe-inducing experience (reporting on a personal experience of awe) were willing to offer more of their time in a volunteer role and reported less impatience than people who were primed with a parallel happiness-inducing experience. Awe-induced people’s generosity was only time-based, it did not correlate to an increase in monetary generosity.
3.    People primed with an awe-inducing experience were more likely to prefer experiential goods over material goods as compared to people with a neutral mind state.

Researchers at the academic website BeyondThePurchase.org conducted a follow-up study investigating the effects of experiential consumption on pro-social emotions such as awe. Results of the study indicated that people who consistently purchase experiences, as opposed to material items, have a significantly greater tendency to feel uplifting emotions such as awe and inspiration. The finding adds to the growing body of research examining the benefits of spending money on experiences.

At Beyond the Purchase we are researching the connection between people's spending, happiness, and values. To learn about your spending habits and what influences your buying behavior, first Register with Beyond The Purchase, then take our Experiential Buying Scale. We think you may learn a lot about what causes you to part with your hard-earned money.

The article referenced above is called, “Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being,” and will appear in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science.

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Contact Information:
Graham Hill
ghill(at)mail(dot)sfsu(dot)edu
Beyond The Purchase
http://www.beyondthepurchase.org


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