The term “consumers” is routinely used in place of “people” and “citizens.” While most people (consumers?) don’t notice or care much about the terms being used interchangeably, there are those who resent being labeled as “consumers,” as if their sole purpose and reason for existence on this planet is to consume—to eat, drink, use, watch, and buy stuff, and keep the economy humming along. Now, a new psychological study indicates that it may be in everyone’s interest if we stop referring to (insulting?) folks as mere consumers.
A team of researchers led by Galen Bodenhausen, a professor of psychology and marketing at Northwestern University, has published the results of a new study about materialism and happiness in the journal Psychological Science. Among the familiar findings—money can’t buy happiness, and material possessions don’t make us happy either—is one concerning the use of the word “consumer.”