Living in a material world


Tim Kasser, Professor and Chair of Psychology at Knox College, answers questions related to the life we live today.

TK: There are two main sources that our research has identified over the years. The first main source is pretty obvious and that’s social modelling. There’s substantial evidence showing that when people are exposed to messages in their social surroundings which suggest that materialism is an important aim to strive for, they are more materialistic themselves. We’ve seen that people’s levels of materialism are positively correlated with their parents’ levels of materialism, with their friends’ levels of materialism, and with their level of exposure to commercials on television. The second major set of influences on whether or not people are materialistic is what we call ‘insecurity’ or ‘threat’. Several different kinds of studies show that people focus more on materialistic values if they were exposed to threatening circumstances when they were younger, or if they are reminded of threats in laboratory manipulations.

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Zan Boag — New Philosopher

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The news – why do we subject ourselves to it?


How many times do you check your mobile feed for the latest news? And how many hours do you spend listening or watching to news. Speaking for myself, I don’t remember 99% of the news I read daily.

Rolf Dobelli, author of The Art of Thinking Clearly argues that consuming news has a darker side. He argues that the daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It saps our energy. It grinds us down. It impacts our ability to make good decisions and think clearly. It attacks our creativity. “I would not be surprised if news consumption at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression,” he writes.

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Antonia Case – New Philosopher

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