There’s life, and there’s art that imitates life, and then there are studies about which of the two makes us happier. One such project comes out of the psychology department of San Francisco State University, where researchers asked consumers about a recent purchase and how happy that purchase made them. A San Francisco State University news release reports that the researchers fully expected to find that material items would provide the smallest happiness boost and life experiences the largest, with experiential products falling in the middle, but no, that wasn’t the case. Instead, they found that experiential products –things such as books, sporting goods, video games or musical instruments — provided the same level of happiness as experiences. Why? It’s complicated, but basically, experiential products provide a comforting sense of competence, and experience–doing things with others, makes us feel less lonely. Both good things, equally so, apparently. Read more from San Francisco State University.