You may not be able to buy love, but science says you can buy happiness.
A new study suggests purchasing material goods gives us more frequent joy over the course of weeks and months, compared to the happiness we get from an experience.
Researchers say experiences provide intense feelings that will eventually fade, but material things remind a person about the happiness they felt when they first received it.
The University of British Columbia measured people’s happiness up to five times over a two week period after they purchased or received something material or experiential.
‘The decision of whether to buy a material thing or a life experience may therefore boil down to what kind of happiness one desires,’ said Aaron Weidman, one of the researchers and a student at the university .
A portion of the participants were given $20 and told they could spend it on a material object or an experience, and the rest were asked to use either an experiential or material gift they were given for Christmas this year.
All participants were instructed to record their happiness with the purchase or gift.
The results showed experiential gifts gave people more intense happiness during the experience and also gave them a jolly feeling on occasion over time.
But those who chose material things reported their happiness as a constant, more frequent feeling over the two weeks following the study.
‘Consider a holiday shopper deciding between tickets to a concert or a new couch in the living room,’ Weidman said.

‘The concert will provide an intense thrill for one spectacular night, but then it will end, and will no longer provide momentary happiness, aside from being a happy memory.’
‘In contrast, the new couch will never provide a thrilling moment to match the concert, but will keep the owner snug and comfortable each day throughout the winter months.’
A study was published earlier this year that suggested giving experiences makes people happier.
Aristotle said that ‘men fancy that external goods are the cause of happiness [but] leisure of itself gives pleasure and happiness and enjoyment in life.’

Culled from

  • Olu

    Money can’t buy happiness…but all the things that make us happy need money.