Our purchases say a lot about our personality, such as how materialistic we are. This, according to researchers from Gladstone and Columbia Business School. 

Researchers analyzed more than 2 million spending records from over 2,000 individuals. They also administered a short personality survey that was designed to measure participants’ materialism, self-control, and the big 5 personality traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. 

The team found significant correlations between purchases and traits: for example, researchers found that more materialistic individuals spent more money on jewelry, more extraverted individuals spent more on food and drinks, and those who were more open to experiences spent more on flights.

This study shows that our purchases can indicate certain personality traits. Researchers are interested to see how these personality predictions might affect targeted advertising, or online advertising that targets audiences with certain qualities.


Glastone, J., Matz, S. C., Lemaire, A. (2019, June 5). Can Psychological Traits Be Inferred From Spending? Evidence From Transaction Data. Psychological Science.