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How happiness affects choice

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Esther Gonzalez Eceizabarrena

on 27 November 2014

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Transcript of How happiness affects choice

How happiness affects choice
- Two pilot sudies to test whether calm and excitement vary if they are focused on the future or the present.
- Examination of personal blogs containing the phrase “I feel”
- 12 million phrases analyzed
- Study focused on words "calm" "peaceful" "excited"
- Researchers identified sentences with future or present orientation
- Future focused sentences expressed excitement. Present focus sentences expressed calm
- Same analyzes for young bloggers and older bloggers, results were the same
- Online survey to test the robustness of the finding and to open the range of age. Excitement and calm have different temporal orientations.

People are different
Experiment 1:
Exciting or calming tea
Experiment 2:
Exciting or calming
Experiment 3:
Exciting and calming product.
Experiment 4:
two bottled waters (calm and excitement)
Emotions, can have a powerful influence
on choice.

Pure calm Vs Pure excitement
- Are these emotions experienced as two types of happiness?

- Do they influence the choices consumers make? And why?
Young people are more focused on the future than older people
- 51 students from Stanford University, M= 20 years old, 59% women
- Participants assigned to either control condition (not exposed to the exercise) or treatment
- Treatment: Breathing exercise designed to direct attention to the present.
- After: Survey that measured in 7 point scale the definition of happiness as " feeling peaceful"
- After the study they had to choice between 2 different types of tea (calming or exciting) as a gift

- Students in the control condition defined happiness more as feeling excited than calm
- Students who focused on the present (even if they were young) defined happiness more as feeling calm
- Participants choices of tea reflected their definitions of happiness

- 50 older individuals, M= 55 years old, 68% female
- Two groups: participants led to think into future and participants in control condition
- They made participants listen to exciting or calming version of the song “Such Great Heights”
- Participants reported in a 5-point scale how happy they felt
- Manipulation checks: questions were included to know how excited/calm they felt with each song
- Measure choice: Participants had to choose which MP3 they would like (exciting/calm) and they took it home as a present
music as effective method of manipulating emotions
- Participants listening to the exciting song felt more excited
- Participants listening to the calm song felt calmer
- Participants in control group feel happier when they were made to feel calm
- Participants that were led to think about the future felt happier when they felt excited
- Older consumers naturally tend to associate happiness with calm but shifting their focus to the future leads them to associate happiness with feeling excited.
The relationship between age, temporal focus, one´s meaning of happiness and choice
- younger adults and older adults.
- Feel exited or peaceful by listening to an exciting or calming version of a song
-Participants reported on a -point scale how happy they felt
-The experiment concludes with a measure of temporal focus:

-Irrespective of age, participants listening to the exciting song felt more excited than those listening to the calm song and vice versa

-Younger participants felt happier when they were made to feel exited whereas the older participants felt happier when they were made to feel calm.

-The older participants were more present focused than the younger ones

-Younger adults were more likely to choose an MP3 of the exciting song whereas older adults were more likely to choose an MP3 of the calm song.
Highlight the marketing implications of the effects shown
- adults
-Think about either future or the present moment
-Complete a new product survey
-Choose between the two types of Happiness water.
-Report on a 5-point scale how happy drinking this water would make them feel.
-Additional measures to explore why temporal focus might affect the
type of happiness consumers assume.
The bottled water with the exciting logo would make them feel more excited than with the other and vice versa.

Those focused on the future were more likely to choose the exciting product whereas those focused on the present were more likely to choose the calming products.

The effect of temporal focus on participants likelihood of choosing the exciting product was driven by the happiness anticipated from feeling excited versus calm.
I often think about the present moment.
I typically focus on the present moment.
It´s important to me that my thoughts are in the here and now
I like to be present.
My mind often focuses on what is happening now

What is the happiness ?

What does it mean happiness?
Definition of happiness

-a state of well-beingand
-a pleasurable or satisfying

Some ideas about happiness
„Happiness is not a station you arrive at,
but a manner of traveling.”
Margaret Lee Runbeck

„Happiness is the spiritual experience of
living every minute with love,
grace and gratitude.”
Denis Waitley

Everyone wants to have

Consumers want to be happy
Marketers would like to increase
the consumers’ happiness.
Difficult that we can draw the definition
of happiness
It’s not an easy task for the marketers
Psychologist, economists and sociologists have researched the
best measure of happiness
ways to increase happiness
why happiness is important.
Growing interest
affected business
-How to increase brands
consumers’ happiness

-How to design organizations to
increase employees’ happiness

Does the promise of happiness
drive consumer choice?
Brands communicate
the feeling happiness
2 types of happiness
„feeling excited”
„feeling peaceful
and calm”

The meaning of happiness
is not a stable thing.
Exciting option
Calming option

not so much people-to project
the whole population

temporal focus
(lots of young people don’t
care about their future)

researches made int he USA

The act of choosing : the act of picking or
deciding between two or more possibilities

The opportunity or power to choose between two
or more possibilities : the opportunity or power
to make a decision

A range of things that can be chosen
The result of this six studies show that the meaning of happiness is malleable, shifting both moment to moment
But happiness just one of multiple motivations
driving decisions sense of purpose, control over life and social status are other key drivers
of choice.
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