Where to Invest? The Perils of Hot Stock Tips

Hearing about others’ success tends to make us overconfident. It is a general human bias to attribute other people’s success to luck and our own to skill. In the case of investing, this may lead many people to think, If she can do it, I can certainly do it. And since you were probably just getting part of the story, your confidence is doubly unjustified.

As Seen On TV: Or, How I Ended Up With the Slap Chop

We tend to model our behavior after people we know, and this extends to the realm of consumer decision-making. We trust our peers’ (even if they are just Yelp peers) recommendations, and tend to spend money on the same things our friends do. However, it seems that we get only a skewed view of other consumers’ experience. We are probably not hearing about the fails.

Why Be Spiritual? Five Benefits of Spirituality

In a recent study we conducted in my lab, using the data we collected on BeyondThePurchase.org, we investigated the personal and societal benefits of spiritualism by examining participants' responses to over 30 surveys. Here are the top five positive characteristics of spiritual people.

The Top 5 Reasons Spending Less Will Make You Happier

There are distinct differences between tightwads, those who have trouble spending money, and spendthrifts, those who have trouble not spending money. Using the data we collected on BeyondThePurchase.org, we find there are five advantages to being a tightwad.

Should I Start a Business? Answering a Common Question

Let’s say for discussion’s sake that the thing you are considering is starting a business. You ask yourself… “Should I or shouldn’t I start a business?” Easy enough, right? You make a t-chart, list the pros and cons and then make a decision! Well, let’s examine how you go about dissecting this question.

Life's an Experience: Consuming Memories Leads to Happiness

People who prefer to buy life experiences report a number of positive mental health outcomes, including greater empathy, more engagement with nature, decreased anxiety, and less personal distress. Also, people who buy life experiences for intrinsic reasons reported greater psychological need satisfaction than those who buy life experiences for extrinsic reasons.

How Do I Find a Babysitter? A Behavioral Economics Lesson

You’re looking for a trustworthy sitter for your young child. Your friend gives you the following descriptions. Sitter One is described as intelligent, industrious, impulsive, critical, stubborn, and envious. Sitter Two is described as envious, stubborn, critical, impulsive, industrious and intelligent. So, proud mama or papa – which do you choose?

Can Money Buy Happiness? Money and Need Satisfaction

If materialistic pursuits, those that are embodied by the American Dream, are not making people happier, then are the hours we spend pursuing better careers, nicer homes, and faster cars, in vain? We believe the problem is that people are simply spending their money on the wrong things (literally).

5 Things Happy People Do Every Day (and You Can, Too)

Happy people make five little decisions every day that improve their well-being. What are the five importance differences between happy and unhappy people based on our recent consumer behavior studies?

Why You'll Never Be Able to Keep Up With the Joneses

Given our tendency to compare our own incomes with what others have, we only feel better off if we move up relative to those with whom we compare ourselves. Thought of in this comparative light, wealth creation becomes a contest where your gains are tantamount to my losses and vice versa.

Resolution For the New Year: Focus On the Future

What should be on your resolutions for the New Year? How about focusing on the future. A new research suggests that people’s perception of time influences their financial and emotional well-being, as well as the kinds of purchases they choose to make.

Life History Explains Our Responses to Financial Recessions

Whether measured by asking about childhood income or by measuring oxidative stress, childhood stress is related to spending rather than saving when faced with financial threats as an adult.

Holiday Gift Giving Tip 2012: Give Experiential Gifts

If you’re struggling to think of what to gift this holiday, consider tickets to the theatre, gift certificates for the movies or a favorite restaurant, a membership at their favorite museum, or lift tickets at a ski resort. Your gift may bring you closer to the most important people you love, help them build new memories, and give them good stories to tell later.

Purchasing Experiences Can Produce Emotional Benefits

In three experiments, Rudd, Vohs, and Aaker showed that individuals who experience awe, are less impatient, feel they have more time available, prefer experiences over material items, volunteer their time to help other people, and experience higher overall life satisfaction.

People Who Spend Freely Do Not Spend Wisely

Those who feel too little pain of paying are called ‘spendthrifts’ while those who feel too much pain of paying are referred to as ‘tightwads’. However, people who feel anxious when spending money (tightwads) may actually be happier than those who do not feel negative emotions (spendthrifts) when making a purchase.

What Drives Us to Get Our Bling On?

For people who don’t have status, acquiring it is a motivation. Thus people who can least afford it tend to feel the greatest need to acquire possessions that signal high status.

How to Budget: Avoiding Retail Therapy

If prospects for a bright financial future look utterly bleak, why bother looking in detail about how little can be done about it? This sense of monetary despair could be the turning point for the biggest mistake many people make.

Less Is More: The Power of Simple Language

The reality is that consumers often want have simple aims: buy a can of beans, open a savings account, and so on. By directly addressing these desires through simple words on packaging, companies can make a lasting impact and boost their sales figures at the same time.

Research Ties Women’s Spending to Their Menstrual Cycle

When women are in the most fertile phase of their menstrual cycle, they are more likely to buy appearance-enhancing items, such as clothing and jewelry, than when they are in the earlier or later phase of menstruation.

Why Do Men Buy Corvettes?

By spending money in a conspicuous way (i.e., with the intention of attracting mating opportunities), men’s ability and desire to engage in mating behaviors is increased. But then the question then is: do women even notice or care?

Even As Grown-ups, We Need Those, “Look What I Did!” Moments

A new study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that when we assemble our own furniture, we actually value that furniture more than we would have if it had come assembled.

You Know That Sex Sells—Do You Know Why?

You may not realize this, but activation in the nucleus accumbens will make you take more financial risks. This is the part our brain that is "turned on" when we experience positive emotions. So, how do we know that this region of the brain will make you take more financial risks?

What Motivates People to Buy Compulsively?

While psychologists are becoming better at developing surveys people can take to learn if their buying behavior is too impulsive, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to determine what motivates people to buy impulsively. Specifically, what values that encourage people to buy compulsively and impulsively?

Commas and Cents: Why $1,999.00 is More Than $1999

If you were buying, say, a shiny a new 3D TV, would you rather pay $1900 or $1,900? I know it seems like a trick question, but researchers Keith Coulter, Pilsik Choi and Kent Moore wanted to know whether the way a price is either spoken or written impacts how people perceive the magnitude of the price.

Buying Happiness One Small Purchase at a Time

Research website BeyondThePurchase.org finds that inexpensive purchases create happiness by allowing people to focus on relationships, rather than money.

Can Our Daily Activities Make Us Happier Today AND Tomorrow?

Steger, Kashdan, and Oishi asked people, over a four week period, the types of activities they did each day and their levels of daily well-being, satisfaction, and positive emotions. Their goal was to determine the behaviors which are associated with “the good life” or, at least in this case, the good day.

What Life Experiences Appeal to Materialists?

Even though materialists, by definition, consume fewer life experiences than experiential consumers, they do spend money on life experiences and, presumably, differ in their preferences for particular life experiences. So, what life experiences appeal particularly to materialists? Researchers at BeyondThePurchase.Org are beginning to discover the answer.

When You're Smiling (the Whole World Buys Your Toothpaste).

Yesterday I wrote about how Volkswagen’s promotional billboards for the latest version of their popular Beetle proclaimed, “It’s a boy!” in reference to the new styling for their 2012 Beetle.Are you more likely to buy the car based on its smile? Well, it might depend on if the smile is a Duchenne smile.

What Does Evolutionary Theory Have to Do With Your Car?

One of Volkswagen’s promotional billboards for the latest version of their popular Beetle proclaimed, “It’s a boy!” in reference to the new styling of their 2012 model. Their promotion suggests that prior models were not as boyish as the 2012 model. Why would Volkswagen think that?

How Many Happy Balls Are in Your Beaker?

This Sunday afternoon, something struck me. What would I say if someone asked me, “Were you happy this weekend”? My response would be, "Well, yes," but happiness is actually a bit narrow in describing how I felt.