Understanding the Visitor Experience

Need a custom
essay ASAP?
We’ll write your essay from scratch and per instructions: even better than this sample, 100% unique, and yours only.
Get essay on this topic


As any journey provides an opportunity to obtain experience, it gives the basis for exploring oneself and promotes the creation of a personal narrative made up of all the things that individual experiences throughout one’s life. Therefore, it is possible to assume that experiences help in developing personal narratives or the stories that people experience create individuals’ exposition. Experiences are separated through observation of participation and are important for self-definition and self-expression (Kleine & Baker, 2004) and these are the experiences that bring people more happiness than material possessions, however, both are useful for individual narrative creation. A personal narrative is viewed by some researchers as the referred to the particular types of affect-laden scenes and rule-generating scripts that people take from their experiences (Robins, 2008). It is also the self-defining memories and representations of past experiences of emotionally intense events in the life of an individual. Personal narratives are important because they display the values taught by the experiences in certain cultures in a more enjoyable form. At the same time, these experiences are the collections of different stories taken officially from such institutions as schools or churches, invented by other people and their own experiences, and culturally common stories that are gotten from the environment (Akinsanya & Bach, 2014). This paper aims to discuss whether human beings tend to collect different experiences as they do material possessions to create a personal narrative. It will discuss the notion of collecting and the psychological aspect of collecting the meaning of experience, and the role of collecting experiences in creating a personal narrative.


In creating a personal narrative, it is important to understand the concept of collecting experience and in particular the concept of collecting. Thus, the notion of the collection is not the same as accumulating, possessing, or investing. Collecting activity includes the organization of objects and the possibility of completion. In addition, collecting is determined by the nature of the assigned value of the object, where the predominant value of the object or idea is intrinsic. The other concept of collecting is defined as a gathering of objects, which belong to the particular category the collector happens to like (Lafferty, Matulich & Liu, 2014). There is also an explanation of the concept of collecting, which Belk (1988) defines as the basic way through which people use material culture in constructing their identities and social roles. Such identification leads to the personal narrative or the story of one’s life. It is the human instinct to collect, where ownership over material culture plays an important role. Prown (1982), states that in terms of material culture, it is framed and communicated through social practice and can be introduced by individuals always within the social production. At the same time, not all elements of an individual’s life can be material culture or something one can possess. If to take the example with taking a picture on the top of the mountain, it is not about the picture itself, but about the ability to further reconstruct the experience. Pearce (1994), speaks about collecting dictated by the environment, where from the economic point of view, collecting helps to maintain the system of production and purchase. From the ideology perspective, collecting helps to maintain a sense of moral values. In society, collecting is part of the maintenance of prestige and pride, and the material culture defines collecting as a support notion of taste and aesthetics.

It is also impossible to consider collecting experiences without gaining some understanding about the meaning that individuals attach to possessions. Again, the key concept that connects the attachment to possessions is materialism defined as the importance of an individual attaches to the possessions. Belk (2000), states that possessions that individuals see as most a part of themselves show a close relationship to the objects that include a material value such as clothing, perfume, and vehicles. At the same time, possession of an object refers to the belief that something is “me” because control is been suggested to be the critical determinant of feelings of possession. When considering the other aspect that influences possession, age, in particular, this factor affects the nature of the attachment to possessions. When an individual cites possession as “special”, the ones tend to be those that mean other people. Therefore, possessions are not only part of self but also are instrumental to the development of its sense of self.


The term experience is the most complicated to manage in the philosophic vocabulary. The analysis divides it into the experience and what is experienced. It is the necessary combination of real and perfect components, which includes reality and determines it in the sense (Blahnik, 1997). Erlich (2003), states that despite the very different meanings of experience, it refers to actual living through the event or real-life occurrence contrasted with the imaginary. Other senses refer to skills, knowledge, and techniques that come from the experience and residue of having the experience. It is the singular concept it refers to such things as riding a bicycle or getting angry. At the same time, it is the ultimate and non-analyzed data of all the happenings. It is more likely a summon genus of all knowable reality.

Reality is possible for some only with material things or material possessions. However, recent research has revealed that certain types of material possessions have a little positive impact on well-being. Moreover, it is the role of investing discretionary resources into life experiences rather than purchasing material possessions. At the same time, when individuals have existential insecurity, they become more materialistic, and thus it can become a typical mechanism for managing anxiety (Howel, Pchelin & Iyer, 2012). Wooley and Fishbach (2015), state that people tend to underestimate the strength of emotional experience and the impact of emotions and other drives throughout their experience. It is, however, important for the intrinsic incentives when making decisions outside pursuit. Here, the importance should be given to the experience and interpretation of time as the basic theme of human reality. Narrative in such a way is capable of structuring and organizing time in accordance to the hermeneutic principles and present time through the number of interpretations. Thus, there is a correlation that presents the transcultural form of necessity between the activity of narrating a story and the temporal character of experience (Polkinghorne, 2010).

What is important in experience is memory about the past. Fernyhough (2012), states that human ability to remember generates the basis for who individuals are and is a psychological trick that attracts cognitive scientists. Such attention is given due to the fact that memory is the coherence, the reason, feeling, and even action. Therefore, once it lost. All the basic connections are lost as well.

At the same time, people usually perceive memory as though they were material possessions and enduring presentations of the past. However, such a view of memory and thus past experience is not clear. One cannot say that experience filed away just like a memory about a certain activity. However, based on the experiments conducted by researchers, it is easy to change someone’s memories by asking misleading questions. An experience differs here, as the person knows exactly that an activity or event happened in the past and this impacts the personal narrative of the future. Meaningful experiences do not leave individuals but give memories that bring emotional succor for the upcoming years. This is because collecting experiences makes people happier, providing a lifetime of service. Here, the role of memories and experiences is great despite the fact that they can be as positive as negative. Another important aspect of experience and its influence on the future personal narrative is in experiencing self, which lives in the present and while remembering self, creates inner storyteller.

Personal narratives and search for self

By conventional standards, a personal narrative is rather a new story with the involvement of traditional resources of the tale type and traditional plot. It is one method of recapitulating experience. At the same time, the performance involves the number of aspects taken from the past usage, therefore, stories are based on the past experience (Thomas, 1997). To support such a concept, it is possible to apply narrative inquiry, which is based on the premise that human beings have given meaning to their lives through stories grounded on the knowledge or experience from the past and not necessarily knowledge about this past. At the same time, humans come to the conclusion that memory about the past experience sometimes plays tricks and shadows when individuals know about the past (Trahar, 2009). The narrative itself offers alternate ways to define the self, which brings to light the developmental dimension of a human being. The contents of individual experience within such narrative are significant and understandable due to the fact that humans do not encounter the confusion of unstructured elements, however, which present the world meaningfully. Here, the role of narrative as a cognitive process is applied, giving meaning to temporal events and identifying them as parts of the plot. The structure of personal narrative consists of different kinds of stories, which connect diverse events of lives into the understandable wholes (Polkinghorne, 1991).

Giving form and meaning to individuals’ lives, narratives include the vast aggregation of experience and memories. Similar to each of life episode singly, life as a whole and oneself are something that unfolds in time. As such, self calls for the same sort of structuring and the same principle. When considering narrative in personal life, it refers to each aspect of human activity where the events can be chronicled without being explicitly narrated. Here, the human culture and human self provide the underlying and overarching narrative context. As such, given that personal narrative and self-representation be as experiences, there is a need to connect them into the central conception of human consciousness. At the same time, narratively does not capture aspects of self for communication and examination. Narrative constructs the self. Personal narratives give continuity to self and the meaning to action located and values presented in the context of past experience and projected outcomes (Fireman, McVay, & Flanagan, 2003). In the personal-experience narrative, the self is often promoted as a stable subject referring to the same person. Following that, one of the purposes of personal narrative is to establish the stability of the subject through suggesting that an individual is the collection of experiences and that they can change or remain the same over time. Whether personal narratives produce coherent selves, then they do so while readjusting and repositioning fragmented and changeable selves (Shuman, 2010).

Telling personal narratives is usually a try to create the match between the particular experience and a certain bigger human story. Thus, a personal narrative can be an example, but what it is as an example of is often left open to inference and interpretation. The personal narrative is not history but discourse. Sharing experience through the personal narrative is the fundamental aspect of human behavior as humans appear to be wired and engaged with information that is narratively structured. Telling personal narratives based on the experience provides a critical development and societal function serving as means to reinforce community value systems. In a time of high technological potential, personal narratives about many life experiences are shared and widely available in social media sources. They provide a valuable resource for learning commonsense knowledge about the experiences of others (Swanson et al, 2014). Every personal narrative follows a certain structure of an individual’s past experience. Thus, the orientation of narrative identifies in some way the time, people, and activity, which a person experienced and which creates the clause for personal narrative.

A narrative structure offers an alternate way to understand the self. It explains human knowledge as organized and the primary way here is to involve recognizing it as a stance of something. Narrative structuring allows the self to be captured as the whole where the meaning of individual events and actions comes from their relationship to the whole. One of the most fundamental and pervasive phenomena is time. As that, practical time involves the sequence of events that constitute human experience.

Experienced time is a configured time directed towards the extended forms where the future, present, and past determine one another as parts of a whole. The part-whole structure where temporal experience is configured refers to the narrative structure, which functions as the organizing scheme of everyday experience and action. Derived from the categorical structure, the self-concept has traditionally been structured as the substance and requires a narrative structure. Having a connection to narrative configuration, self refers to the human identities that are not static and evolve constantly. The developed narratives of self-identity should be embedded in and constructed out of the individual’s cultural environment. Narratives of self-identity are based on the universal narrative forms, however, individuals’ style and content depend on the experience (Polkinghorne, 1991).

To understand how the collecting of human experiences impacts the creation of personal narrative, the term of narrative inquiry, which refers to analyzing and understanding the way people create meaning in their lives, should be mentioned. Being a new qualitative methodology, narrative inquiry thinks about and studies experience (Clandinin & Huber, n.d.). It examines experience through a collaboration of researcher and participants with the help of such commonplaces as temporality, sociality, and place, specifying dimensions of the inquiry and serving as a conceptual framework. What is important for narrative inquiry is that it examines the gathering of stories that individuals collect based on the knowledge from the past where knowledge about the past is not necessary.

Experiences that resonate with each other lead to connections that are not contrived versions of commonality. In addition, narrative inquiry can vary, as they are present in the writing and can employ several voices. For example, through the interactive voice, researchers examine the subject’s positions, social locations, and personal experiences (Trahar, 2009).


An important aspect of the experience and personal narrative is that what matters is that individuals’ lives do not serve as models, but narratives do. They are formed under the influence of numerous factors, which in the future form the particular model of personal narrative. This paper discussed why and how human collects experiences and how that impact the creation of their narratives. Thus, collecting is understood as the activity of the organization of objects and the possibility of completion. It is also determined by the nature of human beings in valuing certain objects or ideas. Collecting is also about gathering those objects that a collector defines as good and such feeling or activity will leave a certain experience. The paper has discussed the notion of experience, presenting the views of researchers about this concept. It was explained as observation or actual living through the event or real-life occurrence. It is also skills, knowledge, and techniques acquired in the past. It is also an ultimate and non-analyzed data of all the happenings. However, altogether experience promotes the creation of self. There should also be no assurance in living life to the full completing a list of the impressive number of exceptional experiences. It should come from understanding that individuals appreciate as many moments as possible, delighting in the small things each day and appreciating all experiences.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Akinsanya, A., and Bach, C. 2014. Narrative analysis: the personal experience narrative approach, ASEE 2014 Zone I Conference, [pdf] Available at: http://www.asee.org/documents/zones/zone1/2014/Student/PDFs/21.pdf [Accessed on July 13, 2016].
  2. Belk, R. 2000. Are we what we own? In A. Benson (ed.), I shop therefore I am: compulsive buying and the search for self, New York: Jason Aronson.
  3. Belk, R. 1988. Possessions and the extended self, Journal of Consumer Research, 15
  4. Blahnik, M. 1997. Experience: an exploration into the structure and dynamics of human consciousness, University Press of America.
  5. Clandinin, D., and Huber, J. n.d. Narrative inquiry, International encyclopedia of education.
  6. Erlich, H. 2003. Experience- what is it? International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 84, [pdf] Available at: http://psychology.huji.ac.il/.upload/articles/erlich1.pdf [Accessed on July 13, 2016].
  7. Fernyhough, C. 2012. The story of the self, The Guardian.
  8. Fireman, G., McVay, T., and Flanagan, O. 2003. Narrative and consciousness: literature, psychology and the brain, Oxford Univesity Press.
  9. Howel, R., Pchelin, P., and Iyer, R. 2012. The preference for experiences over possessions, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 7(1).
  10. Kleine, S., and Baker, S. 2004. An integrative review of material possession attachment, College of Business Administration, University of Wyoming.
  11. Lafferty, B., Matulich, E., and Liu, M. 2014. Exploring worldwide collecting consumption behaviors, Journal of International Behaviour and Cultural Studies.
  12. Pearce, S. 1994. Interpreting Objects and Collections, Routledge.
  13. Polkinghorne, D. 1991. Narrative and self-concept, Journal of Narrative and Life Story, 1(2), [pdf] Available at: http://worldu.edu/library/PolkinghorneNarrativeSelfConcept.pdf [Accessed on July 13, 2016].
  14. Polkinghorne, D. 2010. Narrative knowing and the human sciences, SUNY Press.
  15. Prown, J. 1982. Mind in the matter: an introduction to material culture theory and method, Winterthur Portfolio, 17(1), pp.1-19.
  16. Robins, J. 2008. Handbook of personality: theory and research, 3d ed., NY: Wilford Press.
  17. Shuman, A. 2010. Other people’s stories: entitlement, claims and the critique of empathy, University of Illinois Press.
  18. Swanson, R. et al, 2014. Identifying narrative clause types in personal stories, Proceedings of the Sigdial Conference, [pdf] Available at: http://www.sigdial.org/workshops/sigdial2014/proceedings/pdf/W14-4323.pdf [Accessed on July 13, 2016].
  19. Thomas, J. 1997. Featherless chickens, laughing women, and serious stories, University of Virginia Press.
  20. Trahar, S. 2009. Beyond the story itself: narrative inquiry and autoethnography in intercultural research in higher education, Qualitative Social Research.
  21. Wooley, K., and Fishbach, A. 2015. The experience matters more than you think: people value intrinsic incentives more inside than outside an activity, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(6).
Find more samples:
Related topics
Related Samples
Subject: ⚖️ Law
Pages/words: 6 pages/1720 words
Read sample
Subject: 💭 Psychology
Pages/words: 7 pages/1743 words
Read sample
Subject: ⛩️ Culture
Pages/words: 3 pages/776 words
Read sample
Pages/words: 3 pages/793 words
Read sample
Subject: 💭 Psychology
Pages/words: 13 pages/3512 words
Read sample
Subject: 🎨 Art
Pages/words: 5 pages/1369 words
Read sample
Subject: 💭 Psychology
Pages/words: 7 pages/1980 words
Read sample