Some groups have criticized advertisers for manipulating children to demand an endless array of consumer products, while others have decried the creeping placement of branded goods in public schools.
But despite the finger pointing, relatively little is known about how materialistic values develop in childhood and adolescence, a University of Illinois researcher says.
"Materialism has long been of interest to consumer researchers, but research has centered on adult consumers, not children or teens," says Lan Nguyen Chaplin, a professor of marketing in the U. of I. College of Business.
To get a better handle on the issue, Chaplin and co-investigator Deborah Roedder John, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota, looked at three age groups – 8-9 year olds (third- and fourth-graders), 12-13 year olds (seventh- and eighth-graders) and 16-18 year olds (11th- and 12th-graders).
The researchers used collages to chart the value placed on materialistic objects such as "stuffed animals," "money" and "nice sports equipment" compared with non-materialistic sentiments such as "being with "friends," "being good at sports" and "helping others," in making them happy. The researchers also asked the children open-ended questions about what made them happy.
The researchers found that materialistic values increased between 8-9 year olds and 12-13 year olds, but then dropped between the 12-13 age group and 16-18 age group.
In a second study, the researchers determined that self-esteem was a key factor in a child's level of materialism. Children with lower self-esteem valued possessions significantly more than children with higher self-esteem.
Moreover, the heightened materialistic values of early adolescents were directly related to "a severe drop in self-esteem that occurs around 12-13 years of age." By using a test that primed high self-esteem among the children, the researchers wrote that they "reversed the large drop in self-esteem experienced by early adolescents, thereby reducing the steep rise in materialism among this group."
As a result, the researchers wondered whether proposed bans on child advertising and other restrictions were the best approach to reduce overly materialistic values.
"Our results suggest that strategies aimed at influencing feelings of self-worth and self-esteem among ‘tweens' (8-12 year olds) and adolescents would be effective," they concluded.
Mark Reutter | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy