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actually read this article first before part one, read both articles, they are short and informative.

When purchases go wrong

The researchers used three experiments to examine this question. In the first two of these participants were randomly assigned to groups in which they recalled material and experiential purchases that had either turned out well, or that had turned out badly. They were then asked how happy (or otherwise) these purchases had made them.

The results suggested that, just like Van Boven and Gilovich’s research, experiential purchases (e.g. a meal out) beat material purchases (e.g. clothes) if each turned out well. But, for some people whose scores were low on a measure of materialism, when the purchases turned out badly, it was the material goods that left them slightly happier. In contrast the highly materialistic were left less happy when their material purchases went wrong.

In a third experiment participants actually made a small experiential versus a small material purchase and then their happiness over time was measured. It was found that when participants made a material purchase that turned out badly it was easier for them to forget about it than an experiential purchase that went wrong.

Across three experiments, then, Nicolao and colleagues found evidence that when our experiential purchases go wrong we are likely to end up slightly less happy than if we had chosen a material purchase. But, as in previous research, when our purchases go well we are likely to end up significantly happier if we choose an experiential rather than a material purchase.

How to Choose Between Experiential and Material Purchases « PsyBlog.

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