Researchers at Dartmouth College and Columbia University have found that believers in karma are less likely to focus on short-term happiness – which means they’re much more easily satisfied when out shopping.
Overall, though, they have higher expectations in life, because they have a longer-term view of things.
The authors describe the doctrine of karma as having three main tenets. First, is the notion of rebirth where actions in a particular life may bear fruit either in the current life or in the next.
Second, actions can be broadly classified into appropriate – ‘good’ – or inappropriate – ‘bad’. Finally, good actions in the present lead to good outcomes in the future.
“The doctrine of karma links current conduct to future consequences either in this life or the next,” write the authors. “Thus, a belief in karma entails, among other things, a focus on long-run consequences.”
“Individuals with a long-term orientation are likely to be less inclined to lower expectations in the hope of temporarily feeling better,” write the authors.
The authors aren’t particularly interested in the spiritual implications.
Instead, they write, it’s an opportunity for companies to appeal to those people who, inexplicably, don’t automatically rush to buy the latest gadget.
“Perhaps most importantly, the findings are also encouraging concerning the feasibility of explicitly measuring cultural factors and assessing their impact on consumer behavior,” they add.