Faculty Sponsor, if applicable
Materialism, or people’s desire to acquire and possess material things (Górnik-Durose & Pyszkowska, 2020), has historically been associated with lower wellbeing (Nickerson et al, 2003). However, the negative relationship between materialism and wellbeing may depend on how researchers measure materialism. The often-used Materialism Values Scale (Richins & Dawson, 1992) assesses three forms of materialism—status signaling, happiness, and identity centrality—but it seems plausible that other forms of materialism might exist, with different relationships to wellbeing. Previous neuroaesthetics research suggests that aesthetic experiences, specifically viewing art, are beneficial to wellbeing (Daykin et al., 2008; Todd et al., 2017; Thomson et al., 2018); we predicted that aesthetic materialism will also correlate positively with wellbeing. We conducted a correlational study consisting of an adapted version of the MVS to include MVS materialism scale, our new aesthetic materialism subscale, several wellbeing measures (e.g., life satisfaction, happiness, meaning in life, and gratitude), and orientation towards aesthetics. We conducted bivariate correlation and regression analyses to determine underlying relationships between the materialism subscales and the wellbeing measures. Our results indicated that materialism as happiness correlated negatively with presence of meaning in life and satisfaction with life, and aesthetic materialism correlated positively with search for meaning and daily gratitude.
Type of Research
Department Honors, Doctoral-Undergraduate Opportunity for Scholarship (DUOS), Undergraduate Student - Independent Study