Where Happiness Comes from

Topics: Sociology, Happiness, Social relation / Pages: 10 (2406 words) / Published: Jul 10th, 2013
This study conducted by Caprariello and Reis starts out with a thought provoking introduction on the connection between happiness and how it correlates to our spending. He cites several researchers that came to the conclusion that, “people reported greater happiness after spending their discretionary money on life experiences rather than on material possessions” (Caprariello & Reis, 2013). Life experiences were defined as events or a series of events that a person lives through, such as a vacation, a night on the town, or a camping trip. Material possessions would be defined as anything tangible that one can buy and keep in their possession. Caprariello and Reis, from the research of others, lists several reasons why happiness through experiences is more satisfying than possessions, such as experiences are more likely to satisfy psychological needs, have longer lasting hedonic qualities, and appears more significantly in people’s self-narratives. Caprariello and Reis then mentions present research on this topic and singles out a key component that may be a factor in the way individuals obtain happiness from spending money. This dynamic is that experiences are often shared with others; where as material possessions are more inclined to individual use. “If so, variations in the sociality of experiences should moderate the extent to which they provide happiness relative to material possessions. Extensive research shows that social relations are influential sources of happiness” (Caprariello & Reis, 2013). Therefore material possessions intended for social use may lead to greater happiness than possessions intended for nonsocial use.
Their goal in this study was to further investigate the acknowledged advantages of experiences over possessions, as well as study whether the fact that the social characteristic of spending is a better way to predict happiness than just the general difference between experiences and possessions. To achieve their goal they



References: 1. Caprariello, P., & Reis, H. (2013). To do, to have, or to share? Valuing experiences over material possessions depends on the involvement of others.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(2), 199-215.

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