Investing in the real me: Preference for experiential to material purchases driven by the motivation to search for true self-knowledge Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. One mechanism underlying the hedonic benefits of experiential purchases is that one’s core self is more centrally reflected in experiential purchases. However, little is known about whether people consume experiential purchases as a means of discovering their true self. The present research explored the possibility that people value experiential purchases as a potential tool for understanding their true self. Consistent with the hypothesis, Study 1 demonstrated that experiential purchases were perceived to be a more valuable source of gaining knowledge about one’s true self compared to material purchases. Using correlational methods, Study 2 found that the motivation to search for true self-knowledge positively predicted preference for experiential purchases over material purchases. Finally, Study 3 showed a causal effect of motivation to search for true self-knowledge on a tendency to prefer experiential purchases to material purchases. Implications and future directions for well-being research and marketing are discussed.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, J., Seto, E., Christy, A. G., & Hicks, J. A.

citation count

  • 10

publication date

  • July 2016