Be true to your personality to buy happiness
Watch out what you purchase as even after splurging on an African safari, you may remain as unhappy as you were before if travelling is something you do not value much and not true to your personality.
Many shoppers whether they buy material items or life experiences are no happier following the purchase than they were before, research has indicated.
"There are a lot of reasons someone might buy something," said Ryan Howell, an associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, "but if the reason is to maximise happiness, the best thing for that person to do is purchase a life experience that is in line with their personality".
So if you are a cricket fan and buy a ticket for a cricket game, the experience may leave you happier.
On the other hand, if appreciating art is not your forte and you buy a ticket to an art museum you may not be any happier as a result because the experience may not be true to your personality.
For the study, researchers surveyed shoppers to find out if there were any factors that limited the happiness boost from experiential purchases.
Those who tend to spend money on material items reported no happiness boost from experiential purchases because those purchases did not give them an increased sense of "identity expression" - the belief that they bought something that reflected their personality.
"The results show it is not correct to say to everyone, 'If you spend money on life experiences you will be happier', because you need to take into account the values of the buyer," explained Jia Wei Zhang, a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley.
Reasons someone may buy a life experience that does not reflect his or her personality include a desire to fit in or spend time with others, Zhang added.
The study is set to appear in the June edition of Journal of Research in Personality.
(Posted on 03-05-2014)