A lot of people go away on a trip or do every kind of things during the weekend just to be able to talk about it. They may not like that kind of concert or travelling so far from home, but they want to impress friends and work colleagues. As it turns out, the experience is not really beneficial to them, according to a new study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.
Researchers at San Francisco State University and University of Rochester, in the US, surveyed 241 people to learn about their motivations for buying life experiences, and how these influence the end result.
‘Why you buy is just as important as what you buy, says Professor Ryan Howell, lead author of the study. ‘When people buy life experiences to impress others, it wipes out the well-being they receive from the purchase. That extrinsic motivation appears to undermine how the experiential purchase meets their key psychological needs.’
Life experiences like going to a concert or travelling usually benefit people in many ways (sense of well-being and of being more competent, less loneliness, etc.), as the authors already knew from previous studies; but it is crucial to determine what is the real motivation for buying something.
‘Those who spend money on life experience for autonomous reasons report more autonomy, competence, relatedness, flourishing, and vitality,’ the authors of the study write. ‘However, those who spend money on life experiences for controlled or amotivated reasons reported less autonomy, competence, and relatedness. These results demonstrated that the benefits of experiential consumption depend on why one buys life experiences.’
Source: San Francisco State University
Photo: Stig Nygaard/Flickr
Jia Wei Zhang, Ryan T. Howell, & Peter A. Caprariello (2012). Buying Life Experiences for the “Right” Reasons: A Validation of the Motivations for Experiential Buying Scale Journal of Happiness Studies DOI: 10.1007/s10902-012-9357-z
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