Sunday, November 25, 2012

If money doesn't make you happy ..

.. then you probably aren't spending it right.

[..] Why don't a whole lot more money make us a whole lot more happy? One answer to this question is that the things that bring happiness simply aren't for sale. This sentiment is lovely, popular, and almost certainly wrong. [..]


My unrelated favorite quote in this article:
Human beings are the most social animal on our planet. Only three other animals (termites, eusocial insects, and naked mole rats) construct social networks as complex as ours [..]


  1. Interesting article on happiness in general. Also shows that an MMO subscription can be a great source of happiness!

    -Playing is an experience, not a thing.
    -The game consists of many small chunks (play sessions) instead of a single major event.
    -You pay now and consume later.
    -There's always some new content patch to anticipate.
    -There are many sources of uncertainty while playing, whether caused by other players or randomness in the game.

    Also some good advice for those who are constantly unhappy with whatever MMO they are playing at the time:

    -Don't focus on simply optimising your own playtime all the time; think of others.
    -Stick with an MMO that you simply like for a longer time instead of always seeking out the newest kid on the block just to be thrilled by it for two weeks.
    -Don't rate MMOs purely based on feature lists.


    1. Speaking from my middle-aged perch:

      Don't rate *anything* purely based on feature lists.

    2. You should add:
      - play with others
      - let them take the loots


  2. Very interesting study. Some aspects of it seem obvious (ie: delayed gratification), however I was surprised that they recommended against warranties and insurance.

    Perhaps I missed something but in the $5 experiment, all participants 'gained' something ($2/$10). If my TV breaks down without warranty, the saved extended warranty money is not treated as a 'gain' in my mind.

    Furthermore the regret of not having bought a warranty and the inconvenience of being without a TV and having to buy a new one may outweigh any money saved.

    1. Well, the article specifically says in abstract "(4) eschew extended warranties and other forms of overpriced insurance;", which already includes value judgement (overpriced).

      The point of that part is that you'll generally feel happier without extended insurance, even if you would rationally benefit from it. In case of no warranty, your expectations of item not breaking will be inflated (such a great item cheaply!), and then easily reversed in case of item breaking (oh well, what did i expect from item with no warranty?), thus providing higher overall enjoyment.

      They say that expected regret is higher then actual regret. "Because people are highly skilled at dodging self-blame, they experience less regret than they predict." And return policies allow you to second-guess your purchasing decisions, undermining enjoyment from it.