Tuesday, March 22, 2011

8th Talk: Dr. Stacy Wood - Buying Happiness

They showed another pre-recorded talk by Emily Pilloton.

The eighth TEDxNCSU talk is Dr. Stacy Wood on Buying Happiness.

We are supposed to be happy at the end of the talk. Dr. Wood studies consumer psychology, which seems pretty neat. She starts with that we all know we can't buy happiness. I'm guessing she's going to turn and say that we act as we can buy happiness (I'm right).

Examples: Where do we spend our time? We don't follow our passions, but Mike Rowe told us earlier that following our passions was bad advice. In the end, we spend 300 hours more than Europeans working each year. Also, the average European gets 6 weeks of vacation per year. Vacations are important for the things that make us happy. 52% of Americans take one week or less of vacation per year. We tie happiness to success at work and making more money.

Tells us to go home and check out the stuff we spend our money and thus our time on. We often end up buying unhappiness. There are 3 reasons we spend money unwisely.

1.) Retail therapy. We buy things and it makes us happy momentarily. People feeling the least in control may be the most likely to take advantage of this. People are also very financially illiterate. Finally, once we have things we adapt to it, and our happiness returns to it's previous level. I need granite counter tops -> I need stainless appliances -> I need new cabinets/flooring...

We've created a habit of stuff leading to mindless acquisition. She has recently studied sales of luxury brands during the recent recession using brain imaging (i.e., fMRIs). People saw 3 words and 3 logos. Indulgence Words and Frugality Words as well as luxury brand logos and "practical" brand logos. Seeing indulgence words then luxury brand logos activated part of brain associated with goal achievement?. Finally, she asks us to unplug from messages push blind consumerism.

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