Thomas Gilovich, professor of psychology at Cornell University and happiness expert, says don’t buy material items for your loved one on Valentine’s Day; If you want to impress your true love, create an experience filled with memories.
“For your true love, it’s better to buy an experience than a thing. Experiences generally give us more happiness and satisfaction and connect us to other people more, and that’s the whole point of Valentine’s Day.
“If you find out that someone has the same material possession that you bought, you’d feel close to them, but not as much as if you found out you vacationed in the same spot. And experiences reverberate as the gift that keeps on giving, because people enjoy hearing stories about experiences more than those about possessions. It can become a charming story of what you did for your true love.
“Another reason experiences make the better Valentine’s Day gift is because we compare everything we have with other people’s possessions. For example, if you just bought a new computer and you’re happy with it and I showed up with a new computer that was better, it would really bug you. Whereas if you had an experience and someone else had a better one it wouldn’t bother you nearly as much, because you wouldn’t want to trade your memories for someone else’s.
“If you heard about someone who bought twice as many flowers for Valentine’s as you did, it might make you feel bad, while you’re much less likely to feel outgunned with an experiential gift.”
For interviews contact:
Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.