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  1. #31
    Senior Member Idealatious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    One thing I thought was weird though is that they said experiences>things, like you'll remember a vacation longer than a new iphone or something.
    I think that someone would technically remember a vacation longer than an iphone, sure. But as a poor college student without a smartphone (excuse me while I go sob in a corner in the fetal position), I would suggest that some material things lead to an increase in one's quality of life that perhaps the article did not account for. Like smartphones - the social networking opportunities, the ability to check email on the go and use a GPS, etc, etc - these abilities increase one's quality of life and lead to lots of new opportunities and experiences, reflected in one's lifestyle. But I'll stop swooning over iphones now.

    What I mean is that perhaps the comparison between an iphone and a vacation isn't the best. Except maybe for a person who already had a smartphone and then bought a new iphone, in which case the iphone does not introduce that many new opportunities for him/her.

    A better example might be a pair of $300 shoes (pffffff-hahaha funny) vs a vacation. These shoes don't lead to many new opportunities except the ability to get compliments, and go to some dance and feel jealous stares and open adoration, or something; don't ask me. Let's say, a trip to another country provides opportunities to learn and grow as a person, and awesome memories, while the shoes provide some happiness at some dance that will probably be forgotten in the long run. Even just a vacation of nothing but lying in the sun could provide a stress-reduction effect that improves one's health in the long-run. But then it might depend on the person, depends on the material item, and depends on the experience. For some people, shoes would be better than a vacation - but maybe only if they lead to a lifestyle change/improvement, rather than being thrown in a closet and taken out once a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Why aren't more people aware?

    1. They've been sold other ideas, most notably ideas about the relationship between certain products and status. But also others geared more towards selling products than securing human happiness (though they'd have you believe otherwise.)

    2. They don't have that kind of disposable income anyway.

    You may worship the "truths" produced by this kind of social "science," but the whole thing seems a little ludicrous to me.
    You make some good points, but seem to suggest the article is worthless or pretty close to being so? I don't think it's irrelevant for people to research subjects like this just because the research validates some common sense notions. (But not all of them are common sense notions, as Randomnity notes) Because, like you made the point, just because something is common sense doesn't mean that everyone knows it - it certainly doesn't mean everyone lives it.

    Research doesn't have to be revolutionary in order to be worthwhile - in psychology, sociology, social sciences in general, etc, a lot of research seems obvious in hindsight, but it wasn't so obvious before we had a name for it. And still isn't obvious to people in everyday life; I mean, who thinks "wow, this is a prime example of the bandwagon effect" when in the appropriate situation. Less people than we would think. I'm mean I'm absolutely certain no upstanding intelligent citizen from TypologyCentral would ever fail to notice every instance of every psychological concept in one's own life.

    ...Imma go read the article now.

  2. #32
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idealatious View Post
    I think that someone would technically remember a vacation longer than an iphone, sure. But as a poor college student without a smartphone (excuse me while I go sob in a corner in the fetal position), I would suggest that some material things lead to an increase in one's quality of life that perhaps the article did not account for. Like smartphones - the social networking opportunities, the ability to check email on the go and use a GPS, etc, etc - these abilities increase one's quality of life and lead to lots of new opportunities and experiences, reflected in one's lifestyle. But I'll stop swooning over iphones now.
    I actually disagree that this is the case. What I've observed in friends and acquaintances is that they're thrilled to have this new toy, which then consumes all their attention and distracts them from enjoying experiences because they're too busy browsing online to pay attention to what's happening in real life. They tell everyone how great their new toy is, but from an external point of view, they don't seem happier. They seem more stressed to be constantly on call, more distracted when they should be paying attention (let's say at a child's event or a work meeting), more ADD when they could be enjoying the moment.

    Sure, they have constant access to the internet now - was it really a big problem when they could only check emails 20 times a day?! I have access to the internet in the morning, all day at work, and all night when I'm home. That's plenty of time to take advantage of any "social networking opportunities", and I have never needed a GPS since maps work perfectly well and are less often wrong. For things like airports/coffee shops, I have a netbook which I absolutely love, which fits in my purse, which has a keyboard and a 10+ hour battery life so I can use it for actual computer work instead of just browsing online....and it was about half the cost of an iphone and also has no contract.

    It does not seem like smart phones offer a real increase in quality of life to me, and it's why I refuse to buy a smart phone although I could afford one despite also being a starving student.
    -end of thread-

  3. #33
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    All in all, I'd say there's quite a bit of truth in this -- with the caveat that money can't make you happy... but a lack of it can certainly make you *unhappy*. Largely because a lack of money in our society is almost equivalent to a lack of control over your circumstances... and thats stressful for anyone.

    (1) buy more experiences and fewer material goods
    The article could have stopped here. After a certain baseline, most material goods just drag you down. In 2003, I decided to splurge and spent about $2000 on a vacation. This was totally unprecedented for me, and something that I was never exposed to as a kid in any way, shape, or form. It literally put a smile on my face every single day for months beforehand and a full year afterwards. No exaggeration. I can't imagine any material possession with anywhere near that sort of effect. And basically, this vacation involved basically zero material items and spending two weeks out in the boonies with a group of fun, likeminded people.

    (2) use their money to benefit others rather than themselves
    This is often a part of the first one. Making other people happy and helping other people is almost always a good experience.

    (3) buy many small pleasures rather than fewer large ones
    I think this alludes to happiness being something that needs to be baseline-maintained on a day-to-day basis, and not based around "grand gestures". 100 "good" days has more to contribute to happiness than 99 "blah" ones and one awesome one.

    (4) eschew extended warranties and other forms of overpriced insurance
    So... don't waste your money. Note taken

    (5) delay consumption
    Not really sure what the intent of this is... perhaps that anticipation is often a significant portion of a thing (material or not)'s contribution toward happiness, and by extending this, a larger overall bump to happiness is achieved? I guess I could see that, if you're looking at happiness as some sort of single-factor scale.

    (6) consider how peripheral features of their purchases may affect their day-to-day lives
    This seems a little clumsy... is this like "yeah, I always wanted a swimming pool" turning into "ugh, maintaining this thing sucks, and I only use it 2 months a year"?

    (7) beware of comparison shopping
    Understandable... focusing too much on comparison shopping sucks the fun out of almost anything, turning it into a dull, spreadsheet-type existence. On the same note, finding out that you paid three times as much for something as you should have is no fun either. Moderation in all things...

    (8) pay close attention to the happiness of others.
    Back to #1. Being with happy people, and helping them stay happy, is almost un-overestimatable.

    But what Orangey said about "people like being free to do what they want and help other people" is a pretty solid way to approach this. A lot of it is "people hate worrying about money, because it stresses you out and stress sucks". Duh.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #34
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blank View Post
    [YOUTUBE="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO6XEQIsCoM"]Paradox of choice[/YOUTUBE]
    That was a really cool talk! thanks for sharing.
    -end of thread-

  5. #35
    Senior Member Idealatious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    I actually disagree that this is the case. What I've observed in friends and acquaintances is that they're thrilled to have this new toy, which then consumes all their attention and distracts them from enjoying experiences because they're too busy browsing online to pay attention to what's happening in real life. They tell everyone how great their new toy is, but from an external point of view, they don't seem happier. They seem more stressed to be constantly on call, more distracted when they should be paying attention (let's say at a child's event or a work meeting), more ADD when they could be enjoying the moment.

    Sure, they have constant access to the internet now - was it really a big problem when they could only check emails 20 times a day?! I have access to the internet in the morning, all day at work, and all night when I'm home. That's plenty of time to take advantage of any "social networking opportunities", and I have never needed a GPS since maps work perfectly well and are less often wrong. For things like airports/coffee shops, I have a netbook which I absolutely love, which fits in my purse, which has a keyboard and a 10+ hour battery life so I can use it for actual computer work instead of just browsing online....and it was about half the cost of an iphone and also has no contract.
    Yeah, I see what you mean! I'm kind of biased, and also forgot to add qualifications like I normally do: "these abilities possibly can improve one's quality of life, maybe, in theory, if used correctly?" I mean, I notice things that would be improved with a iphone, like going to meet someone, and they send an email saying "sorry, meeting's canceled," and you wait for them obliviously for 30 minutes. But eh. A netbook is a good substitute, I guess. I could probably reference Blank's "The Paradox of Choice" video now about how all these options decrease my satisfaction with my basic phone, he he.

    (That was a really fascinating video, btw. "The secret to happiness is low expectations because we get disappointed when our standards are too high; So many options raise our expectations and often cause paralysis; many choices can cause us to do better, but feel worse; economic redistribution would help us all." )

    But I still think that *some* material possessions have the ability to increase one's quality of life more than other possessions. Like Internet access in general (I'd venture that counts, since it's not free), or even having quality winter boots for someone who lives somewhere snowy, definitely having a decent place to live. Yeah; sometimes new things introduce new problems. And we very quickly adapt to having these things, which decreases our happiness; that's true. But what the article says about thinking of purchases in terms of not what we have, but what we can do makes a ton of sense.

    The question is (well, one question is!) how can we prioritize? Good and bad things can come from having stuff - and it may not bring more satisfaction in the end... Of course other things contribute to happiness too. Money brings opportunities; but I mean, the article was saying you've gotta spend your money on the right things.

  6. #36

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    Research doesn't have to be revolutionary in order to be worthwhile - in psychology, sociology, social sciences in general, etc, a lot of research seems obvious in hindsight, but it wasn't so obvious before we had a name for it. And still isn't obvious to people in everyday life; I mean, who thinks "wow, this is a prime example of the bandwagon effect" when in the appropriate situation. Less people than we would think. I'm mean I'm absolutely certain no upstanding intelligent citizen from TypologyCentral would ever fail to notice every instance of every psychological concept in one's own life.

    ...Imma go read the article now.
    When I studied research methods it made me realise that the majority of research is about proving something is a fact rather than merely an opinion, when so much research appears to be commonsensical or a vindication of popular/commonplace opinion or popular suspiscions its probably a good sign, it means that there's some practical reasoning going on somewhere.

    Mind you, I sometimes am baffled by research like this, the same as the research on the genetic determination of happiness, ie that everyone has a genetically set level of happiness to which they inevitably return whatever the good or bad fortune they may have or trauma they experience.

    It could all amount to a huge stoic smokescreen if its used to, as I suspect it is, encourage a "you never had things so good" or "where's the point in improvement?" message.

  7. #37

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    Also, I'll bet its only me that reads this sort of thing and sees a very clear vindication or validation of socialism, in the non-monetary or public policy, sense, I dont necessarily agree with him but I think its what Tony Blair and his supporters used to mean when they went on about needing a "social - ism" (not to be confused with the night club/music events organised by the Chemical Brothers).

  8. #38
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    The original article was quite interesting. Some of the empirical conclusions are though provoking.

    I think number 8 might have been misinterpreted in the OP. It suggests that we should pay closer attention to product ratings from others when buying things.

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