Study: Wanting Things Makes Us Happier Than Having Them
THE ATLANTIC, Jan 16 2013
An empirical evaluation of materialism — beware “hedonic decline”
PROBLEM: So let’s concede the point that “the very pursuit of happiness thwarts happiness.” But what about the pursuit of things? Treating yourself to coveted material goods is guaranteed to make you happy, right?
METHODOLOGY: In three separate studies, Marsha Richins of the University of Missouri scored consumers as rating either “high” or low” for materialism, and then evaluated their emotional state before and after making an “important purchase.”
RESULTS: In each study, the reigning materialists anticipated future purchases with strong, positive emotions, much more so than other consumers. Joy, excitement, optimism, and even peacefulness coursed through them regardless of whether they were thinking about buying a house or a toaster, next week or next year.