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大手大脚花钱背后的心理学

更新时间:2017-10-26 19:14:41 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The psychology behind spending big
大手大脚花钱背后的心理学

If you could afford it, would you ever splurge $10,000 on a pair of headphones? What about some other indulgence? Would you?

如果你买得起,你会花一万美元买一副耳机吗?如果换成其他一掷千金的事情,你会去做吗?

Some of the most coveted sets, like Sennheiser's Orpheus or the Onkyo Diamond, can cost tens of thousands. But is the sound quality of a $10,000 pair of headphones really 10 times as good as the pair that costs $1,000?

像森海塞尔(Sennheiser)Orpheus或安桥(Onkyo)Diamond这种最顶级的耳机,售价可以达到几万美元。但一万美元的耳机音质真的比1,000美元耳机好10倍吗?

Expensive items and experiences are often branded as higher quality, exclusive, bespoke, or offering greater amenities or services. But are the most expensive things in life always better? What really makes people part with their hard-earned cash?

售价高昂的商品和体验往往标榜高品质、独家限量、定制等特性,或者号称能够提供更大的便利或更好的服务。但最贵的东西一定更好吗?是什么促使人们挥霍辛辛苦苦赚来的钱?

Research into how cost affects our perceptions shows that price matters so much to our understanding of value that we sometimes rate pricey things as superior or more effective, even if they are the exact same quality as the less expensive option.

关于定价对观念的影响展开的研究显示,价格会对我们眼中的价值产生很大影响,以至于我们有的时候会认为贵的东西肯定更好,即便它们实际上与价格较低的东西品质相同。

In one study by The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Stanford University scholars, people not only rate the same wine more highly when they’re told it is more expensive, functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI scans taken of their brains while they were drinking the wine suggest participants enjoyed the experience of drinking it more.

在加州理工学院(California Institute of Technology)和斯坦福大学(Stanford University)的学者共同进行的一项研究中,志愿者虽然拿到的是相同的红酒,但在被告知其中一种价格更高时,他们不仅认为这种红酒品质更好,甚至当他们饮用这种红酒时,功能性磁共振(MRI)成像都表明,大脑获得的感受更愉悦。

In another study using placebo pain killers, participants who took a fake pain-killing drug that they were told cost $2.50 per pill experienced more pain reduction during a series of shocks than participants who were told the pill cost only 10 cents.

另外一项研究虽然使用了安慰剂镇痛片,但当研究人员告诉志愿者他们服用的这种假安慰剂每片价值2.5美元时,他们在一系列冲击中感受到的痛苦,低于那些以为自己的镇痛片只值10美分的人。

Searching for ultimate experiences

寻找极致体验

But how does price and perception play into our purchasing decisions outside the laboratory? If an item is twice as expensive, do buyers assume it’s twice as good?

但价格和观念如何影响我们在实验室之外的购买决策呢?如果一个东西的价格比另一个高出一倍,消费者是否会认为它的品质也高出一倍呢?

Michael Norton, a psychologist and professor of business administration at Harvard Business School says yes. In fact, we may consider the experience to be more than twice as good. We’re motivated to splurge because we’re seeking peak experiences, his research suggests.

哈佛商学院工商管理教授兼心理学家迈克尔·诺顿(Michael Norton)认为的确如此。事实上,我们 可能认为这种体验好出不止一倍。他的研究表明,我们之所以愿意挥霍金钱,是为了寻找极致体验。

The restaurant, or dessert or film that’s rated three stars by everyone is the safe choice while the one that’s rated with one and five stars could be terrible or could be amazing, he says.  So “in this case, we find that people will gamble and pick the one- and five-star rated one, because they’re trying to get to that totally amazing experience, even at the risk of getting a really bad one.”

他表示,如果所有人都给予某个餐厅、甜品或电影三颗星评价,这就是一种安全的选择。而既有一颗星又有一颗星评价,那就既有可能糟糕透顶,也有可能令人惊艳。所以,"在这种情况下,我们发现人们会赌一把,选择那些同时获得一颗星和一颗星评价的东西,因为他们渴望获得令人惊艳的体验,即便最终的体验有可能糟糕透顶。"

Norton says the same logic can be used to think about why people buy very expensive products or experiences. “There’s an extra boost when you go up in the quality of experiences. So, it’s possible that a $10,000 bottle of whiskey would be more than twice as pleasurable than a $5,000 bottle of whiskey because it’s such a peak experience way out in the extreme.”

诺顿表示,也可以用同样的逻辑来思考人们为什么购买极其昂贵的产品或体验。"当你享受到高品质的体验时,愉悦感可能会得到额外的提升。所以一万美元一瓶的威士忌带来的愉悦感,可能比5,000美元一瓶的威士忌高出两倍多,因为它可以提供最极致的体验。"

Some of us are searching for unique leisure experiences, even when they might be less pleasurable than other options, in order to build their “experiential CV.” “By collecting memorable experiences, consumers obtain a sense of accomplishment and progress, and enhance their self-worth,” Anat Keinan and Ran Kivetz write.

为了构建自己的"体验简历",我们中的一些人会寻找独特的休闲体验,即便这些体验的愉悦感可能不如其他选择。"通过收集值得回忆的体验,消费者便可感受到成就和进步,从而提升他们的自我价值感。"阿纳特·凯南(Anat Keinan)和兰·基维斯(Ran Kivetz)写道。

Joshua Cartu is an amateur ‘gentleman’ racing car driver, entrepreneur and avid collector of Ferraris. He says he splurges on cars not just because he loves them, but because of other accompanying perks like access to special events and an exclusive social circle.

约书亚·卡图(Joshua Cartu)是一名业余"绅士"赛车驾驶员,也是一名企业家,他还很喜欢收藏法拉利。他表示,花大价钱买车不仅是因为他喜欢车,还因为这种行为所附带的福利,例如可以参加一些特别活动,或者进入独家社交圈子。

“The feeling of happiness that you get when you accumulate material things is fleeting. Like other types of things, it’s less and less rewarding each time,” he says. “By buying Ferraris I get be to part of a community of very special, interesting people that have the same passion as I do.”

"你积累物质财富时获得的幸福感很短暂。与其他类型的东西一样,每次得到的成就感越来越小。"他说,"买了法拉利,我就可以进入一个十分特别、十分有趣的群体,他们都跟我有着同样的追求。"

Cartu says one of the best things he ever splurged on was flying a MiG fighter jet in Russia. “We flew at twice the height of a passenger plane. So, in the middle of the day I saw stars in the sky and was able to observe the curvature of the earth. It was one of the best experiences of my entire life.”

卡图表示,他花的最值的一笔钱就是在俄罗斯驾驶米格战斗机。"我的飞行高度达到民航客机的两倍。所以,我能在中午看到天空中的星星,还能观察到地球的弧度。这是我一辈子最好的经历之一。"

While most of us will never be able to afford to fly a fighter jet or race a Ferrari, researchers suggest that desire to build ‘the experiential CV’ can account for more modest splurges, like staying at an ice hotel, or seeking out something strange to eat, like bacon-flavoured ice cream.

虽然多数人永远都开不起战斗机,也买不起法拉利,但研究人员认为,这种构建"体验简历"的意愿也可以解释一些更加适度的挥霍行为,例如入住冰雪酒店,或者试吃培根味冰淇淋这种古怪的东西。

Flashing the cash

挥金如土

Some people are spending big purely to signal they’re successful. “You might feel like you need to show everyone you’ve ‘arrived’,” says Cartu. “It was a big deal for me because I didn’t come from money, and I had to show all these people that I was now rubbing shoulders with, that I was at their level. But after a while and a bit of reflection, the need to impress people faded away.”

有的人挥霍金钱是为了表现自己的成功。"你可能觉得应该向所有人证明你成功了。"卡图说,"这对我很重要,因为我不是富二代,我必须向这些人证明我现在可以跟他们平起平坐。但过了一段时间,经过一些思考后,这种炫耀的欲望就会逐渐消失。"

Economic theory shows demand for some goods increases as their price drops. By contrast, a ‘Veblen good’ is more in demand as its price increases, because of its exclusive and coveted nature.

经济学理论表明,一些商品的需求会随着价格降低而增加。与之相对,"韦伯伦商品"(Veblen good)的需求却会随着价格上涨而增加,因为它具备独家和令人垂涎的特性。

“There’s a general principle that there’s a social comparison aspect of one-upping other people in our consumption. If I have a nicer bottle of wine (…) than you do then I win, and have shown how high status I am,” Norton says. But he adds people are polarised and often choose to be either extremely conspicuous or extremely inconspicuous to show high status.

"有一条基本原则是:我们在消费时会存在与人攀比的心理。如果我的红酒比你的好,那我就赢了,这样就能显示出我的身份有多么高贵。"诺顿说。但他也补充道,人们可能非常极端,为了彰显高贵的地位,他们既有可能选择极其高调的方式,也有可能选择极其低调的方式。

Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, a professor at USC and the author of The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class says that people among the top income groups in America are increasingly buying less conspicuous luxury goods like organic high-end groceries in place of more conspicuous things like designer handbags.

南加州大学教授、《积少成多:关于有抱负阶级的一套理论》(The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class)一书的作者伊利莎白·库里德-哈尔凯特(Elizabeth Currid-Halkett)表示,美国收入最高的群体越来越喜欢购买低调的奢侈品,例如高端有机杂货,以此来取代设计师手袋这种更加显眼的东西。

“Material goods are less of a signifier of social position today. The deluge of material goods means that they are not as rare or scarce or luxurious as in the past,” she says. “There is a greater value in experiences and the narrative around goods as justifying their cost and giving them status.”

"如今有形商品越来越不能彰显社会地位。这类商品的泛滥意味着它们不再像过去那样稀有、稀缺或奢华。"她说,"针对某个商品的体验和描述有更大的价值,可以证明其成本是合理的,也可以为其赋予一定的社会地位。"

The feel-good factor

感觉良好

And here’s the simplest reason of all: people splurge on luxury goods because they think it will make them happy. Norton, who co-authored Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending, says that the amount of happiness you get from spending money will depend on how you spend it and not necessarily how much.

这一切行为背后最简单的原因在于:人们之所以在奢侈品上一掷千金,是因为他们认为这样能给自己带来快乐。曾经与人合著《幸福的金钱:更快乐地花钱背后的学问》(Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending)的诺顿表示,你通过花钱获得的快乐取决于你花钱的方式,未必与花钱的数量有关。

Norton says splurging on items for ourselves is finite and doesn’t add up to increases in happiness over time. Instead, he suggests spending money on experiences rather than things. “Most of us seem to be maxed out on the happiness we can get from stuff alone.”

诺顿表示,挥金如土地给自己买东西都有局限,不会随着时间的推移提升幸福感。相反,他建议把钱花在体验上,而不是用来购买有形的东西。"我们多数人单纯通过有形的东西获得的幸福似乎已经达到极限。"

But there might be an even better way to get your kicks. Norton’s research proves that giving to others can make us happier people.

但或许还有更好的办法为你带来快乐。诺顿的研究证明,给予他人能够提升我们的幸福感。

“It’s not that when you buy things for yourself they don’t make you happy in the moment. Of course they do. That’s why we buy them. It just doesn’t seem to add up to much happiness over time,” he says. “Giving to others seems to add up to happiness over time.”

"这并不是说你现在给自己买东西不能得到快乐。肯定能。这也是我们买东西的原因。但随着时间的推移,这似乎不会积累太多快乐。"他说,"而给予别人似乎可以随着时间的推移把快乐累积起来。"

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