Report: Money Buys Happiness, Reduces Pain

6 Apr

Last weekend, at least 300,000 people spent more than $500 on an Apple iPad, a luxury device that they don’t really need. Will this purchase bring true happiness? Contrary to the popular saying, money does buy happiness according to new psychology research. Did spending the money on the iPad make you feel better at the time? Are you happy with your iPad purchase now? Do you think you will still be happy about the purchase a month from now?

Money Buys Happiness

According to a new study by Cornell University Professor Thomas Gilovich, while buying an item such as an iPad may bring immediate happiness, spending the $500 on an experience will bring instant happiness that will increase over time. Those who purchase an iPad or other material stuff, will, unfortunately, be unhappy about their purchase in the long run.

Gilovich provides several experimentally-proven explanations for why this is the case:

• When you buy such material items as an iPad, you will likely keep wondering whether a Kindle would have been a better purchase for you. Whereas, if you purchased an experience and had a great time, you would not really be wondering whether a different experience would have been better.

• When purchasing a gadget, we tend to look for those that have the most features. However, when choosing an experience, we look for one that will satisfy our minimum requirements for a good time. As a result, we spend less time and stress on our decision when choosing an experience verses a material good.

• When Apple lowers the price of the iPad or comes out with iPad 2.0, those who purchased the iPad first will not feel as good about their purchase. While those who purchased a great experience with that money, will not regret that experience even if new technology optimizes the experience.

Gilovich argues that purchasing an experience rather than a material product makes the purchase decision easier to make and more conducive to your well-being. Barry Schwartz accurately explains this phenomenon in his TED talk “The Paradox of Choice.”

So the next time your sweetheart’s birthday rolls around, spend the money on purchasing the gift of experience that will make you both happy. Check out Excitations.com for great gift experiences ideas.

Money Reduces Pain

In her experiment, University of Minnesota researcher Kathleen Vohsshow asked participants to rate the pain they felt as they dipped their hands in very hot water after counting either cash or slips of paper. Researchers found that touching money reduces pain – participants who counted money felt less physical pain than those who counted paper. Businesses can use this study to make their customers happier. If a flight is delayed for five hours, for examples, an airline may want to just hand the grumpy passengers cash instead of just a voucher toward a future flights.

In a variation of this experiment, participants rated the pain they felt after being shunned by others while playing a computer game. The study found that cash counters felt less emotional pain than those who counted slips of paper. So guys, if you’re feeling rejected at the bar, just pull out some cash and start counting.

Has money made you happy?

Article image by doreteos2.

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