Scientists are exploring the role of age on the happiness that people receive from both the ordinary and the extraordinary experiences in our lives.
Authors Amit Bhattacharjee (Dartmouth College) and Cassie Mogilner (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania), said that they examine how age-and the perceived amount of time left in life - impacts the happiness people enjoy from both extraordinary and ordinary life experiences.
Across a series of eight studies, the authors asked participants to recall, plan, or imagine happy experiences in an attempt to draw a distinction between experiences that are ordinary (common and frequent) versus extraordinary (uncommon and infrequent).
The researchers were specifically interested in testing their theory that younger people will associate extraordinary experiences with greater happiness than ordinary experiences.
In one study, over 200 participants from across the United States and between the ages of 18 and 79 were asked to recall a recent extraordinary experience that made them happy.
The researchers assigned the responses into 12 broad categories including spending time with others, life milestones, and travel. While responses from all age groups reported happiness in extraordinary experiences, study results indicated that happiness from ordinary experiences was more common in the older age demographic.
The researchers suggest brands using experiential marketing campaigns to reach a specific age group examine the type of experience and dimension of the connection they are looking to achieve.
The new study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.