Sunday, October 12, 2014

Why You Should Buy Experiences, Not Things

James Hamblin writes:
Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions. The idea that experiential purchases are more satisfying than material purchases has long been the domain of Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich. Since 2003, he has been trying to figure out exactly how and why experiential purchases are so much better than material purchases. 
In the journal Psychological Science last month, Gilovich and Killingsworth, along with Cornell doctoral candidate Amit Kumar, expanded on the current understanding that spending money on experiences "provide[s] more enduring happiness." They looked specifically at anticipation as a driver of that happiness; whether the benefit of spending money on an experience accrues before the purchase has been made, in addition to after. And, yes, it does. Essentially, when you can't live in a moment, they say, it's best to live in anticipation of an experience. Experiential purchases like trips, concerts, movies, et cetera, tend to trump material purchases because the utility of buying anything really starts accruing before you buy it.
Hamblin doesn't touch on it, but I think the fact that experiences have an eternal aspect to them combined with more intense mental activity, than material purchases, plays a role.

1 comment:

  1. I experienced my second skydive in September and I concur! If you have ever thought you would like to try it, just do it. Words cannot describe how amazing it is. I recommend start-skydiving in Middletown, Ohio.