APS 2012 Poster Chomiak et al .pdf

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Past research has shown that wealthy people
savor small pleasures less than others. We
further examined the relationship between the
ability to savor everyday pleasures and wealth.
Our results indicated that wealthy participants
did not savor candy less than others, unless
primed to think of wealth.

Past Research
Quoidbach, Dunn, Petrides, and
Mikolajczak (2010) presented evidence of
a negative relationship between the ability
to savor everyday pleasures and wealth.
They found:
•People who were wealthy enjoyed
small pleasures less than those who
were not.
•Priming people to think of wealth by
exposing them to a picture of money
decreased their ability to savor a candy.
However, it is possible that the last
result may not be due to the priming of
thoughts of wealth; it may be a mood
effect. Perhaps showing any positive
(vs. neutral) picture would lead to
comparable results.
The current replication was designed to
address this possibility and to further
examine the effect of participant economic
background on savoring.
Quoidbach, J., Dunn, E. W., Petrides, K.V., & Mikolajczak, M.
(2010). Money giveth, money taketh away: The dual effect of
wealth on happiness. Psychological Science, 21 (6), 759-763.

Enjoying the Little Things In Life:
Does Thinking of Wealth Decrease the Pleasure?

Upper and lower class participants reacted
differently to the pictures,
F (2, 27) = 3.48, p = .045.

Peter Chomiak, Lauren Haugh, Gina Pollaro, Majeda Sultana, &
Donna Crawley

Three Conditions
Condition 1: A picture of hundred
dollar bills was included in the folder
as an incidental picture on the left .

Condition 2: A picture of
loose change was included.

Materials and Procedure
Participants were individually and
randomly presented with a folder, which
contained 1 of 3 possible pictures on the
left, and a consent form, a questionnaire,
and a debriefing sheet (in that order) on
the right.

Dependent Measures
1. The number of seconds it took the participant to
eat the candy bar.
2. Self-reported rating of how much the participant
enjoyed the candy, using a 7-point scale.
3. Experimenter rating of appearance of enjoyment
of the candy using a 4-point scale.
Moderating Variable: Self-report of economic
class, collapsed into 3 categories.
Primary Chocolate Questionnaire item:

Condition 3: A picture of an
empty tropical beach was used.

Picture Pretest Results:
• Hundred dollar bills primed thoughts of wealth and
money; it was also rated as pleasant (M = 5.33 on a
7-point scale).
• Coins primed thoughts of money but not wealth
and was rated as relatively neutral (M = 4.67)
• The beach did not prime wealth or money and was
rated very pleasant (M = 6.67).

A convenience sample of 66 participants
ranging in age from 14 to 65, 67% white,
23% Latino, 6% Black, was utilized.

There was a significant interaction between
picture condition and economic background on
self-reported ratings of enjoyment. (See Table 1.)

After signing the consent form, participants:
completed a “chocolate questionnaire” while
eating a small chocolate bar
self-reported on how much they enjoyed the
The unbiased experimenter:
timed how long it took to eat the candy
described the participant’s facial expressions
rated how much the participant appeared to
enjoy the candy on a 4-point scale
A debriefing followed.

How much did you enjoy this particular chocolate bar?
1 = it was terrible
2 = it was very bad
3 = it was bad
4 = it was average
5 = it was good
6 = it was very good
7 = it was excellent

There were no main effects of the type of picture on
eating time, self-reported ratings of enjoyment of the
chocolate, or observations of enjoyment.
Overall, participants did not eat the candy more
quickly, or enjoy it less, in the wealth prime
condition than in the beach or coin conditions.
This finding does not replicate the results of
Quoidbach et al. (2010).

Wealthy participants enjoyed the candy
least when shown the picture of hundred
dollar bills and enjoyed it most when shown
the picture of the beach. Priming thoughts
of wealth did decrease enjoyment among
the upper-class participants.
Lower-income participants enjoyed the
candy least when shown a picture of the
beach, and enjoyed it most with the picture
of the coins. Middle-class participants
showed no differences. Priming thoughts of
wealth did not decrease enjoyment among
middle- and lower-class participants.
Also, there was a near significant gender
difference in the time to eat the chocolate, but not
in enjoyment. Men ate the chocolate faster
(M = 91.00 sec) than women (M = 120.19 sec),
t (61) = 1.81, p = .08, which is consistent with
the gender effects found by Quoidbach et al.
Table 1. Self-report Ratings of Enjoyment
Picture Condition

Overall, this study does not fully support the findings of
Quoidbach et al. (2010). Wealthy participants did not enjoy
the chocolate less than others. Further, when collapsing
across economic groups, there was no effect of priming
wealth on the ability to savor chocolate.
Only people who are already wealthy enjoyed the
chocolate less when reminded of wealth.

There were no main effects of economic background on
any of the dependent measures.

Further research is warranted to tease apart the role of
economic background on the relationships between priming
wealth and savoring.

Upper class participants did not enjoy the
chocolate less, or eat it faster, across picture
conditions than those in the middle class or lower
class. Again, this is inconsistent with the
Quoidbach et al. (2010) findings.

Acknowledgements: The experimenters for this study included
Kara Amos, Nicole Dennhardt, Taylor Fantozzi, Dara Fucci,
Katie Glass, Kelly Grimaldi, Pamela Guce, Joe Miceli, Kim
Mikiewicz, George Papandrew, Danielle Rothenberger, Adetoun
Olatayo, Vlad Popovic, Sandy Santos, Joyce Sweeney, and
Andrea Waksmundski.

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