One of the holy grails of modern psychology is figuring out what makes people happy. The thinking goes, “If we know what makes people happy, people can then do more of that thing and increase happiness in their own lives.” Makes sense.
We’ve noted previously how an experience — such as a vacation or going out to dinner — is more likely to increase happiness than buying a material gift. The reasoning behind this is that experiences create (hopefully fond) memories, which can be later recalled and enjoyed again. While you may also enjoy a gift, it just doesn’t seem to have the same impact that an experience does.
But research published last week demonstrates that this finding be more complicated than we originally thought.
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