How much does our neighbors’ material success affect our satisfaction with our own possessions?

The Psychology of Happiness Read more from
Chapter The Psychology of Everyday Life: Motivation and the Search For Happiness

Money clearly matters to some extent and not having enough money definitely has a negative effect. But we can also ask how much money is enough? It is likely that social comparison plays some role here. We may be perfectly happy with our cute little cottage as long as our neighbors and friends live in similar houses. When our peers start moving into spacious mansions, however, we become dissatisfied with what we have. The term “social comparison” refers to the way we evaluate our own belongings through comparison with our neighbors’ belongings.


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