People Think About Materials Essay

628 WordsMar 8, 20123 Pages
Since the 1960’s professor Alexander Astin has been tracking changes in values within the American student population. From data of around 200,000 people he has found that in the late 1960,s around 80% thought that it was very important or essential to have a meaningful philosophy of life, this decreased to around 40% in the late 1990’s. At the same time, materialistic values rose. For example, those who thought that it was very important or essential to ‘be very well off financially’ rose from 40 % in the 60’s to 70% in the 80’s. Astin A. W., Green, K. C., & Korn, W.S. (1987) The American freshman: Twenty year trends, Los Angeles: ;Higher Education Research Institute, Graduate School of Edcuation, University of California, Los Angeles. The move to extrinsic values Tim Kasser and colleague Richard Ryan, Psychology Professor at the University of Rochester, have been measuring ‘intrinsic and extrinsic values and looking at the psychological, social and ecological outcomes. What they have found is that those who set up extrinsic goals are much more unhappy than those who don’t. Kasser and Ryan measure these values by asking participants to agree or disagree with certain statements. For intrinsic values participants are invited to agree or disgaree with statements such as“ I will follow my interests and curiosity where they take me.” “I will express my love for special people.” “I will help the world become a better place.” And for extrinsic goals they ask participants to agree or disagree with statements such as I will have many expensive possessions.”, “I will be admired by many people.”,and “I will achieve “the look” I’ve been after.” 

The consequence of adopting extrinsic values are startling; those who value fame and fortune are more anxious, depressed, antisocial and have lower levels of psychological well-being than those who don’t. This result has been

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