The price of abundance: how a wealth of experiences impoverishes savoring

Jordi Quoidbach, Elizabeth W Dunn, Michel Hansenne, Gaelle Bustin
Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 2015, 41 (3): 393-404
We investigated the long-standing-yet previously untested-idea that an abundance of desirable life experiences may undermine people's ability to savor simpler pleasures. In Study 1, we found that the more countries individuals had visited, the less inclined they were to savor a future trip to a pleasant but ordinary destination. In Study 2, we conducted a field experiment at a popular tourist attraction, where we manipulated participants' perceptions of their own experiential backgrounds; when participants were led to feel well-traveled, they devoted significantly less time to their visit compared with individuals who were led to feel less worldly. We replicate these findings in Study 3 and found evidence that the observed effect could not be easily explained by other mechanisms. Being a world traveler-or just feeling like one-may undermine the proclivity to savor visits to enjoyable but unextraordinary destinations by endowing individuals with a sense of abundance.

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