The Delusion of Hyper-Valuation: The Need for Everything to Have a Score

Have you noticed that we live in a society obsessed with giving a score for almost everything? In fact, we value restaurants, hotels, and even people. Is this behavior really necessary or is it becoming extreme?
The Delusion of Hyper-Valuation: The Need for Everything to Have a Score
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 07 February, 2023

Are you one of those people who, when you have a cappuccino or a tea in a cafe, immediately write a review about it on Google? While it’s true that waiters often ask for reviews, some of us tend to write them about every single experience. It doesn’t matter how minor they may be: buying a book, taking a train trip, going to the hairdresser… Everything is now an object of evaluation.

These messages and scores that describe our experiences provide information to other people. You can choose to promote a business or, on the contrary, condemn them. Whatever the case, it’s evidence of the fact that we live in a society obsessed with labels.

What would we do without those labels and scores that we assign (and that are sometimes assigned to us)? It seems we’ve learned to live our lives guided by reviews and comments on social media, by ‘likes’, and by the number of stars awarded to a product or a person. Without a doubt, this gives us a greater sense of security. However, are we taking it to the extreme?

Today, we’re becoming obsessed with the idea that everything must be perfect and give us a terrific experience. Only then will we give it five stars.

application with stars to represent the delusion of hypervaluation
Everything in our society is susceptible to valuation.

The delusion of hyper-valuation

Throughout your academic life, you may have been used to being associated with a particular score. Perhaps you were an A or a B-grade student, for example. These figures probably affected your studies and may even have conditioned your first steps into the world of work. Nowadays, it’s not only in the school environment that scores are relevant, but any change or experience is likely to be valued.

The delusion of hyper-valuation is the tendency for any product, experience, situation, or person to be the object of numerical labeling. It’s a practice that doesn’t always spontaneously occur but is demanded by our current social ecosystems. What’s more, it’s not uncommon that, every time you make a purchase, you receive an e-mail message asking you to assess the transaction.

In fact, something as simple as having a coffee or buying (and reading) a book, now requires you to make the effort and translate that experience into a score of one, two, or even five yellow stars. To the extent that these processes have become rather automated.

Today, people, businesses,and products are valued based on the likes and ratings they obtain.

Valuations: the golden path to success or disaster

‘Likes’=social status. Today, the tyranny of the like and the delusion of hyper-valuation define our worth. We all trade on the kinds of virtual exchanges in which others have undeniable power over us. Undeniably, this has a price.

A study conducted by the University of Munich (Germany) claimed that the feedback received on Instagram, for example, defines social status and conditions self-esteem. Something similar happens with businesses and professionals who are constantly subjected to customer evaluation.

Obviously, this can be of benefit to them. Moreover, as a client, you allow yourself to be guided by the evaluations of others. However, it can also provoke a certain degree of anguish. For example, a bad evaluation can sometimes mean disaster. After all, almost everything in daily life (like reading this article) is subject to evaluation and nothing today escapes public scrutiny.

The need for everything to be perfect and rewarding

Social media and the delusion of hyper-valuation have instilled the idea in you that everything must be perfect. You seek the optimal experience. The ideal person. The dream service.

For instance, you want your coffee to take you to the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. You want the hotel pillow you sleep on to be as soft as satin and the taxi you take to have the shiniest wheels. Only then will you give the service five stars and a good review.

The idea that you’re going to value everything about the experience when it ends forces you to live it through the filter of analysis and judgment. In effect, you’ve almost forgotten to live without having to label what you feel, see, and experience.

This trend makes you become obsessed with wanting to find perfection in almost any situation. However, it leads you, sooner or later, to feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction. Because sometimes, the coffee might be cold and bitter, but it’s not the end of the world. Indeed, imperfection is a part of life and it has its own certain charm.

The marketing industry has made us believe that happiness is found only in premium experiences, those that gratifiy us and border on perfection.

Woman drinking coffee at sunset to represent the delusion of hypervaluation
We need to learn that not everything needs to be valued with a score. We must limit ourselves to simply experiencing without evaluating.

Value your world in more ways than giving stars

Without a doubt, reviews and ratings are an important part of any business. They also serve as guides for a client when choosing a product or service. They’re certainly useful. That said, it’s worth remembering that you can’t only look at the world from the point of view of giving scores. That’s because, when this process is transferred to certain scenarios it can be dangerous.

Teens speak this particular language and build their self-esteem based on the ‘likes’ and comments they receive on social media. In fact, the marketing of labels and the delusion of hyper-valuation bankrupt the mental health of the youngest members of our society. They live on a plane where their appearance and abilities are subject to constant scrutiny by their peers.

Finally, labeling shouldn’t be taken to the extreme or we’ll create a false and restricted society, oriented exclusively to the cold trade of likes and labels. Boundaries must be set. We must learn to appreciate our experiences in a relaxed way, without the need for judgments on our cell phones.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

    • Diefenbach, S., & Anders, L. (2022). The psychology of likes: Relevance of feedback on Instagram and relationship to self-esteem and social status. Psychology of Popular Media, 11(2), 196–207.
  • Wang, Ming-Hung. (2019). Understanding Mass Media Using Facebook Like Activities. 10.36370/tto.2019.24.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.