Researchers at the University of Columbia are calling BS on the general idea that money can’t buy happiness. According to a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, material items are more likely to give individuals happiness when compared to experiential purchases, such as traveling or attending sporting events. The self-reported survey, conducted by Aaron Weidman and Elizabeth Dunn, focused on a person’s emotions while in the moment of a purchase, and reassessed those feelings throughout an extended period of time.
Here’s how it all went down: Participants were asked to write down their feelings following the transaction in a daily diary. After six weeks, researchers found that material purchases—which included everything from skateboards and sweaters to coffee makers and portable speakers—provided people with more doses of happiness than the experiential purchases. But, experiential purchases seemed to provide a much more intense, yet fleeting, state of joy.
“The decision of whether to buy a material thing or a life experience may therefore boil down to what kind of happiness one desires,” Weidman told Science 2.0. “Consider a holiday shopper deciding between tickets to a concert or a new couch in the living room. 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.”
So there you have it kids. You might still have a hell of a time buying love but you can drop a few coins on some new limited edition shimmer eyeshadow for a quick mood boost. And then maybe wear that shadow to dinner later. And then come home to that new couch and snuggle up with that new puppy.
Albeit temporary, money can buy happiness. What are your thoughts?