Dr. Matthew Paldy

NYC Glitz and Glamour: The Psychological Impact of Materialism

Dr. Tim Kasser: "We have a nation that has largely been taken over largely by big corporations, and they're running the show, and the show that they're running has to do with their own profit, and profit pushes out other values. To the extent that you start to focus on these kinds of materialistic values, other things become less important to you, like people's quality of life, children in poverty, the environment, and those are the things that are truly important." There are three main goals common to materialistic people:

• Making a lot of money
• Having a good image (usually through possessions)
• Status/popularity

Research shows that the more important people rate these three materialistic (extrinsic) goals as important to their whole value system, the less happy they are and the lower their quality of life. People who adopt and internalize these materialistic goals generally:

• Are less empathic
• More likely to be "Machiavellian" (using power to manipulate other people)
• Are more competitive - thus negatively impacting others
• Have worse and shorter interpersonal relationships

It is this cluster of ways in which materialistic people act that not only makes them unhappy, but also makes the others around them unhappy (social costs). The more people care about materialistic values, the less care about three main intrinsic values:

• Self-acceptance/personal growth
• Affiliation (close relationships)
• Community feeling (making the broader world a better place)