Previous studies have shown that gifts with meaning like an unexpected surprise birthday party are more likely to satisfy us than material gifts. A new study published in the November issue of the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, shows that we mustn’t underestimate a material gift’s power.
According to the lead author of the study, Aaron Weidman, when we receive a material gift we get excited in a different way. The explanation that stands behind his statement is that we can use a material gift more than one time. While we are extremely happy when someone’s gift allows us to experience something new, when we get a dress for example and get to use it in multiple occasions, we are experiencing that initial joy over and over again. That is until we get bored of it, of course.
Researchers said that they weren’t surprised by their discovery, despite the fact that their findings are opposite to already existing ones. They said that a material gift provides a happiness that will repeat over time. An experience will make us very happy when it happens. We’ll be able to experience that joy again through the memories we created.
For the research, two experiments took place. The first experiment involved giving 20$ to 67 volunteers. They were advised to purchase either a material or an experiential gift. They also had to observe and note every day during the two weeks that followed, how happy the purchase made them feel.
The second experiment involved 81 volunteers who were asked to note their feelings toward a Christmas gift they had received one year before. The gift had to be an experiential or a material one. They too had to record their feelings towards the gift they chose, up to five times a day for two weeks.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia discovered that the two very distinct gifts provide two kinds of joy and advised people to shop accordingly. They advised a material gift if you want the receiver to get excited for a long period of time. Gifts like concert tickets or vacations were advised for the people who enjoy life experiences more than material things.
Previous studies showed that people get more competitive about material possessions than when it comes to life experiences proving that we mustn’t underestimate a material gift’s power.
Any gift you choose to give it will make for a lot of happiness that will either be treasured on the moment and in pleasant memories, or will provide a repeated joy during a certain amount of time.
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