Happy Thanksgiving: The Benefits of Gratitude

Because one student wanted to conduct a happiness intervention, gratitude started spreading through my lab—everyone has been thanking everyone else. And, as you would expect, the entire lab seems authentically happier after we started our own gratitude intervention. This is a story about how developing a thesis project transformed my entire lab.

What Are the Best Ways to Save Money?

Happy people have a particular pattern they use to spend windfall money when their essentials are paid for. They take about 25% and save it or invest it. They take about 12% and give it to charities or religious organizations or gifts for other people – basically, pro-social spending. And they spend about 40% on life experiences.

Viral Values: How Do Personal Values Affect Behavior?

Everyday businesses are realizing that in order to prosper in today’s consumer-centric economy satisfying the psychological needs of their customers is vital to their financial success. For example, my friends at Zenzi are constantly touting the benefits of value-based marketing. But why, you may ask, are values so important?

What Causes Materialism in America?

Wealthy neighborhoods fuel materialistic desires. Individuals who live in affluent areas more likely to spend compulsively, less likely to save.

Is Dorian Gray a tragic hero? (Re)defining Hedonism

Data collected from BeyondThePurchase.org shows that those who are willing to sacrifice for pleasure value thrill-seeking and physical pleasure. The more people enjoy eating tasty food, the more maladaptively they pursue pleasure. Interestingly, there is relationship between hedonistic tendencies and happiness; however, hedonists reported feeling anxious.

What do personality traits tell us about consumer behavior?

While researchers can determine, quite easily, consumer behaviors from self-report data, it is almost impossible to get reliable data on why they buy what they do. How then can we predict why consumers make the decisions they make?

What Kind of Moviegoer Are You?

There is a wide array of decisions associated with seeing a movie. These decisions affect our own personal experience as well as the profitability of movie production and promotion companies. Unfortunately predicting the success/failure of films has been a largely unsuccessful venture—making movie productions a risky investment.

Consumer Self-report Data: You Can Ask What But Not Why

Marketers are always seeking to understand how consumers perceive and connect with their product. In doing this, they are trying to find ways to improve the product, packaging, messaging, and promotion. Improvements in these areas lead to better sales. The question is, what is the best way to get this information?

Should Marketers Trust Consumer Self-Reports?

We are constantly finding ways to layer plausible explanations onto decisions we make throughout the course of our everyday lives. While these explanations allow us to weave a coherent story, often times the true reason for why we make a decision is obscured from our conscious awareness.

The Psychology of Money: How Our Emotions Affect What We Buy

Advertisements with the intent of eliciting emotional responses from the consumer have become embedded in our culture – from ‘Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like Somethin’ in the Oven’ (Pillsbury) and ‘There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s MasterCard’. But using emotional responses is not as straightforward as just presenting happy and cheery images.

Do Our Values Predict What We Buy?

Every day more and more people are trying to understand the relationship between money and happiness. Lately I have beening thinking about, what seems like, a simple question: do our values predict what we buy? Allen and Ng proposed that the influence of values on product evaluation will be different for utilitarian and symbolic products

How Many People Have Money Saved for a Rainy Day?

A few years ago I read a story in CNN Money (Most Americans can't afford a $1,000 emergency expense) that reported over 60% of Americans did not have enough money in their savings or checking accounts to pay for a $1,000 emergency. I was shocked. Is it possible that only 36% of US adults have $1,000 in a savings account saved up for a rainy day? Well, maybe not.

Why Do Materialists Worry About Their Finances?

A few weeks I wrote about how a lack of money management predicts individuals' compulsive spending, regardless of their personality, gender, age, and income. These results were based on a study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology. In this blog entry I answer a few follow-up questions.

What Can Be Done to Help With Compulsive Spending Habits?

We asked about their materialistic values, addictive shopping behavior, and motivations behind their purchases with widely-used questionnaires in order to explore the relationship between these three things. We learned that individuals who value material possessions are more likely to shop compulsively because they don't manage their credit well.

The Billionaire’s Brain: Do You Have One?

I’m convinced that one secret of Warren Buffett’s enduring popularity is his “everyman-ness.” While “The Oracle” is insanely wealthy, he is also grounded and approachable which makes replicating what he has done seem almost doable for regular schlubs like you or I. Buffett famously said of intelligence and investment success, "You don't need to be a rocket scientist."

Why Do Shopping Addicts Keep Spending Their Money?

So, why do shopping addicts, or compulsive buyers, keep spending their money even in the face of harmful financial, emotional, and social consequences? Compulsive shoppers tend to be people who bury their head in the sand and ignore credit card bills, as we we found that these individuals keep on buying because they are looking for that "buy high."

How Do People Define the "Good Life"?

Certainly, people value certain aspects of happiness more than others. So, we asked users of BeyondThePurchase.org to defined the "good life."

Are You a Happy Shopper?

People who spent most of their disposable income on experiences scored highly on the “extravert” and “openness to new experience” scales.

What Really Inspires a Woman to Go Shopping?

When women perceive there to be competition for mating opportunities, they sexy up their wardrobe. Something as seemingly unrelated as the state of the economy may lead women to perceive that the pool of available, attractive men is smaller, and thus, the competition for those mates stronger.

Useful Tips for Buying Your Teen's First Car

Buying the right car for your teenager can prove to be a challenge. A lot of parents out there think it’s just about picking one and going with it. However, your teenager obviously doesn’t think like you.

Here are 7 apps for a happier life.

Think apps can't make you happy? Think again. Apps can do just about anything while you wait in line at the post office, from letting you play games to updating your expense records. Specifically, using financial apps allow you to be happier because you know how much money is coming in, and how much (and where) it's going out.

What Is the Best Way to Spend $100?

Separate studies run by BeyondThePurchase.org, a project by San Francisco State University, and Ranker.com yielded the same list of desirable experiential purchases: traveling, dining and concerts are the most popular experiential purchases.

If You're Happy and You Know It Check Your Text

Using mobile technology is now a part of psychological research and you can use it to improve your happiness through improved spending choices—that is, unless you are already depressed.

You've Got to Face It to Erase It

Happiness is related to how people manage their money. Researchers at BeyondthePurchase.org find that individuals who manage their money are happier, more satisfied with their lives, and experience less negative emotion.

How Can We Conserve Water? Do What Strangers Do

If you have stayed in hotels at all in the last 10, you have probably noticed the placards requesting that you re-use their towels. You many not know that, people are more likely to take a cue about how to behave from complete strangers who had happened to once stay in a hotel room than they are to take the same cue from other people of their gender or nationality. Why?

The Costs and Benefits of “Living for Now”

Research done by BeyondThePurchase.org finds that present-oriented people are extraverted, they experience positive emotions as well as value stimulation. However, they also less financially clear and less likely to save money.

The First International Day of Happiness

On this first International Day of Happiness, let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.

How can I get Rich? Your Response to Financial Trouble

When “primed” with (reminded, made to think about) threats to their financial well-being, people who were poorer as children were more likely to respond by making more impulsive, riskier choices than usual, whereas people from more secure backgrounds did the opposite.

Materialists Not Happier When Purchasing Life Experiences

Materialistic people are found to purchase life experiences for extrinsic reasons, thereby reducing the happiness they might gain from experiential purchasing.

Sunshine on My Portfolio Makes Me Happy

In many respects, the high-flyers on the trading floors throughout the world are just like the rest of us. Sometimes they are happy. Sometimes they are not. Researchers want to understand if traders’ happiness affects how they and the market perform. Two researchers, David Hirshliefer and Tyler Shumway, undertook an extensive study to try to answer this question.