Meet The Research Team

We know that the effects of our spending choices often last beyond the place or moment of a purchase. Sometimes those effects are beneficial, leading to enjoyment, happy memories, or feelings of belongingness. At other times those effects may be financially or emotionally detrimental. We developed Beyond The Purchase to explore happiness and the quality of life, and the outcomes of different purchasing and money-management choices, as well as the motivations behind them.

With these insights, we can better understand the ways in which our financial decisions affect well-being. Also, our goal was to create a site that would be useful and interesting to users, particularly consumers who are interested in how their purchasing styles impact their well-being.

Follow us on Twitter @SpendingWell or Facebook.

Our Team

Ryan T. Howell, Ph.D., co-founder, is assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University. His Personality & Well-being Lab aims to better understand the role of finances and consumption in people's happiness and subjective well-being, as well as the concept of happiness and quality of life in general.

Ravi Iyer, Ph.D., co-founder, is a data scientist at Ranker who loves to use data to study intangible things like values, ideology, and happiness. He blogs regularly at and is a director of CivilPolitics.Org as well as an active researcher at the University of Southern California .

Ann Harter is a second-year M.A. student in SFSU's Mind, Brain, and Behavior program. Her research interests include aesthetic appraisals, art consumption, and well-being. She is the lab coordinator of Dr. Ryan Howell's Personality & Well-being Lab.

Claudio Yerahian, User Experience Research Analyst, is a graduate student in the Personality & Well-being Lab, at San Francisco State University. His research interests include design and conduct user research via qualitative and quantitative methods to understand consumer decision making and behaviors with a primary focus to Latino and LGBT populations.

Masha Ksendzova, content manager, is an undergraduate student at San Francisco State University. As a member of the Personality & Well-being Lab, she is interested in materialism, maladaptive consumption, self-regulation, and mortality salience.

Grant Donnelly, content manager, is a master's candidate at San Francisco State University. As a member of the Personality & Well-being Lab, he studies how individual money management influences financial and purchasing outcomes. He also serves as the treasurer for Beyond the Purchase.

Curtis Sheldon, User Experience Researcher, is a graduate student in the Personality & Well-being Lab, at San Francisco State University. His research interests include human cognition, decision making, and social interaction. At Beyond the Purchase, he works to better understand and optimize the user experience.

Sean Wojcik, Research Scientist, is a doctoral candidate at the Unviersity of California, Irvine. His research employs "Big Data" to better understand how motivated reasoning processes influence judgment and decision-making across a number of domains, including political and moral psychology, health decision-making, and subjective well-being.

Other Team Members:

Tom Bowerman, co-founder, is project director at PolicyInteractive, which works to measure and analyze public opinion regarding environmental topics to shape policy.

Colleen Howell, Ph.D., content strategist, is an interdisciplinary research consultant focused on advancing individual and societal well being in tandem with environmental sustainability.

Kerry Cunningham, community manager, is a master's candidate at San Francisco State University. Kerry's primary interest is exploring how our evolutionary past informs our economic and moral attitudes and behavior.

Our Collaborators:

Elizabeth Dunn, Savoring Questionnaire
Jordi Quoidbach, Savoring Questionnaire

Our Sponsors:

PolicyInteractive Research, of Eugene, Oregon, is a nonpartisan interdisciplinary research institute that focuses on issues concerning climate, consumption, and public opinion. Please visit their website for more information. PolicyInteractive was instrumental in founding BeyondThePurchase and provided the initial startup funds covering programming, hosting, and sponsoring graduate student research on consumption.

The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. It supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. They encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.

Interested in sponsoring BeyondThePurchase? Your organization's support could help thousands of people think more deeply about their consumption habits, help us train the next generation of consumer psychology researchers, and also help us continue to do research to understand the relationship between money and happiness. We are also happy to do custom research for your organization, leveraging our acadmemic expertise. Learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

contact: webmaster at beyondthepurchase dot org