December 22nd, 2003 - Open Knowledge
Dec. 22nd, 2003
Experience Keeps on Giving
A timely holiday tidbit: A new psychology study has found that the most valued, cherished and remembered gifts are not material things such as clothes and jewelry, but experiences such as concerts and travel.
"Individuals will live happier lives if they invest in experiences more than material possessions," said the report published in the December Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
People were more likely to report that purchases of experiences made them happier than material purchases, and were more likely to have happy memories about experiences that cost as much as material goods, said researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Cornell University, who conducted experiments among college students as well as a national survey.
The results held true for the young and old, men and women, Republicans and Democrats. The value of experiences seemed to increase sharply with income; the more discretionary money people had, the more likely they were to derive happiness from experiences rather than possessions.
Researchers Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich hypothesized that the difference may be that experiences are usually more central to peoples' identities and more likely to involve social relationships, which are themselves associated with happiness.
"Our findings do not imply that people should forgo basic needs such as adequate clothing, housing or nourishment in pursuit of life experiences," the researchers concluded. But "individuals will live happier lives if they invest in experiences more than material possessions."
-- Shankar Vedantam
Love and Marriage: An Emotional Mixed Bag
Cohabitation benefits men, women seek stability
By Steven Reinberg
MONDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDayNews) -- Men and women both benefit emotionally from being together, whether they're married or cohabitating. And they both have problems after a split -- but with some surprising differences.
That's the upshot of a new study from British researchers that appears in the January issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
"One of the most striking findings is that cohabiting seems to be beneficial to men's mental health and less beneficial to women's mental health," says lead researcher Dr. Stephen Stansfeld, a professor of psychiatry at Queen Mary, University of London.
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