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PERSONALITY & SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
Jinhyung Kim, Texas A&M University
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2016 Heritage Dissertation Award Recipient

In Pursuit of Existential Meaning: Motivation to Search for Meaning Facilitates Experiential Purchases Over Material Purchases

People are fundamentally motivated to search for meaning, but what do people actually do when they want to find meaning in their lives? My dissertation aims to illuminate types of daily activities people engage in as they are motivated to search for meaning. Specifically, my dissertation research examines whether the motivation to search for meaning fosters the preference for experiential purchases (e.g., going to European vacation) over material purchases (e.g., buying jewelry). The potential increase in meaning in life via experiential purchases may be driven by multiple underlying mechanisms such as social relatedness, competence, intrinsic motivation, true self-knowledge, and positive affect.


This research is supported through the Heritage Fund Initiative, which celebrates personality and social psychology's heritage by honoring some of the great teachers and scientists who have made major contributions to field. Further Donations are always welcome to underwrite Heritage Dissertation Research Awards for future students.