Less joy with each new possession / Day


Even well aware that higher payments for heat and electricity are expected in the coming months, a large number of people do not give up the opportunity to spend money today. Car parking spaces near stores are always busy, and customers push shopping carts full of goods onto their vehicles. And even if there really is less free money, people will continue to go to the shops and buy, including unnecessary things.

The explanation for such seemingly illogical behavior is quite simple – our brains are programmed to always want more and more. Therefore, a new shirt or dress is lying in the closet, even if the shelves are broken, the line of shoes in the corridor is already starting to resemble a highway, there is less and less room to move in the living room filled with furniture, and a new mobile phone fits in the pocket even if the old one is not at fault. All this despite the fact that constant shopping makes us feel miserable. This has been proven by several studies, which concluded that people regret a large number of purchases and that they increase the feeling of happiness only for a short time, and then – on the contrary – significantly lower it.

Eternal pursuit of happiness

American scientists from Princeton University’s Department of Psychology have just given their hand in the study of shopping cravings. They created a computer modeling program whose task was to find an explanation for the human desire for ever new material things

“From ancient religious texts to modern literature, human history abounds with stories of the pursuit of eternal happiness. Paradoxically, happiness is one of the most cherished human emotions, yet achieving it in the long term remains an elusive goal for many people,” in the magazine PLoS Computational Biology explained the authors of the paper, “the results of our study help to explain why we are subject to an endless cycle of desire and lust, and may expand knowledge about psychopathologies such as depression, materialism and excessive consumption.”

Feelings are devalued

According to experts, the brain’s pursuit of material goods is dictated by two psychological phenomena. First, human happiness is affected by a phenomenon called “relative comparisons.” This means that we are often worried about the gap between what we have and the level we want to reach.

Second, what is needed for happiness depends on our expectations and expectations, but these can change over time. For example, if someone has always traveled in a tourist group by bus to nearby neighboring countries, but one day experiences a luxury cruise on the Caribbean islands, he will already compare the next trips with this impressive experience and expect similar emotions.

This is exactly what the computer simulation showed. It follows that after receiving the first award, the feeling of happiness increases noticeably in the human brain. But the second is already compared to the first, and the increase in the feeling of happiness is smaller. Thus, with each subsequent gain, its value decreases, and in order to obtain greater satisfaction, it is necessary to purchase a larger amount of possessions in order to construct greater joy from small moments of happiness. In other words, in early youth, we could be happy for a week with one piece of clothing from a brand, but in middle age, we will need seven such clothes to live even one day with the same enthusiasm.


Source: Diena.lv by www.diena.lv.

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