Is happiness choosing to give or to take money?: An experimental study of prosocial spending, active and passive choices and nudging
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Research within positive psychology has shown that spending money on other people (prosocial spending) makes you happier than spending it on yourself (proself spending). The present study tested and extended this idea. Also, how an active or a passive choice in spending affect happiness has been tested. Lastly, this study is the first one to test the effect of nudging on happiness by examining the role of choice, defaults in spending. Three measures of subjective well-being (SWB) was used before and after the manipulation. The web experiment consisted of 788 people recruited from a web-based research company that were randomized to five conditions. Participants played a game and won money, of which some could be donated to a charity organization - representing prosocial spending. The results show that prosocial spending makes people happier than proself spending and that active choices elicit significantly more negative affects than passive choices. A default effect was also found, in so that more people chose proself spending when this was the default. Lastly, the greatest effect on happiness is to change from a default, compared to following a default or doing an active choice without a default. The results are in line with findings in positive psychology as well as theories suggesting that people feel less satisfied and happy when making decisions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 52 p.
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-128826OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-128826DiVA: diva2:932281
Subject / course
Master Thesis in Psychologist Programme
Västfjäll, Daniel, Professor
Andersson, Gerhard, Professor