For years, economists have found that consumers derive more happiness from experiences than material purchases that cost the same amount. For example, you are likely to gain more happiness from a $15 admission to a museum than you are from a $15 T-shirt you purchase at a department store. Further, consumers are less likely to regret spending money on experiences than they are on material items, and the happiness that comes from these experiences also lasts longer than the happiness with a material item.
Psychologists have found that most people, even those who consider themselves introverts, gain more happiness from collaborative experiences than solitary experiences. So if you are going out for lunch and then to a book talk, you are likely to enjoy it more if you take a friend with you. Psychologists also found that people are more likely to reconcile even poor social experiences than they are poor material purchases. For example, going to a ballgame and having it rain may be something to laugh and tell others about later, or it was at least a shared experience.
What does this mean for the classroom?
PAX GBG has harnessed decades of research in economics and psychology in developing rewarding consequences for students. As many teachers have found, purchasing trinkets and material items for student rewards can be costly and rather hit or miss in how rewarding they actually are. PAX GBG uses social experiences as rewarding consequences, which ramp up the power of the reinforcement and actually develop intrinsic motivation – rather than relying on cheap toys, candy, or trinkets to bribe performance. The peer networks and rewarding social experiences in PAX GBG give teachers the flexibility to try all sorts of fun activities with the comfort of knowing that even if the activity falls flat, the students still get reinforcement from performing it together. By using the carefully crafted strategies within PAX GBG, teachers and students create a classroom of peace, productivity, health, and happiness.
To read more about the psychology of economics, check out these articles on PubMed: