Psychology, Research

Want to Feel Good? Spend Money on Someone Else Says Researcher

October 29, 2014

People feel better when they spend money on others rather than themselves, says Lara Aknin, a professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University. Aknin will share her research on generosity, money and happiness as the next speaker in SFU’s free President’s Faculty Lecture Series on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Surrey campus.

Aknin’s research focuses on the emotional consequences of kind or generous behaviour, and her studies on spending money on others speak to the idea that money can buy happiness.

“Much of the research I have conducted examines people’s perceptions of the money and happiness relationship,” says Aknin, whose research has been featured in Yes Magazine as “one of the top 10 things that science taught us about happiness” (2012). She has done more than 300 media interviews worldwide on the subject and has been featured on CNN and quoted in Forbes Magazine and the New York Times.

“While many perspectives of human nature argue that people are selfish, a growing body of research suggests that when we help others we experience a boost in happiness from doing so,” says Aknin. “These findings suggest that doing good can lead to feeling good.”