We're very happy to announce that dr. Lara Aknin is the winner of the Veenhoven Award 2017!
Dr. Lara Aknin is an assistant professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Her primary research interests are related to antecedents and consequences of happiness and prosocial behaviour. Some of her recent work has examined perceptions of the money and happiness relationship and whether people reap greater happiness from spending money on others, called prosocial spending, than when spending the same amount of money on themselves. Her research has found that generous spending leads to higher levels of happiness than spending money on oneself.
From wealth to wellbeing: Spending money on other promotes happiness
While previous research has shown that overall income has a small impact on happiness, Lara Aknin presented research suggesting that how people spend their money may be at least as important for their well-being as how much they earn. Specifically, she presented evidence supporting the hypothesis that spending money on others (prosocial spending) can lead to greater well-being than spending on oneself. She provided evidence for this claim using correlational and experimental evidence from North America. She suggested that the emotional benefits of prosocial spending represent a psychological universal (i.e. a feature detectable in most people around the globe) by presenting evidence from adults in rich and poor countries, small-scale societies, toddlers, and criminal offenders. Finally, she discussed recent research investigating when the hedonic rewards of prosocial spending are most likely to occur, and some additional consequences of generous spending.