Friday, September 20, 2013

The Surprising Science of Happiness

Just thought this was a very interesting lecture about what truly makes us happy. Yes the brain is very involved. Query: I wonder what the outcomes of such a study would be if the subjects were autistic. Since the autistic brain is wired so differently the question would be does it take "more or less" to make an autistic person happy?

Watching the boys as they grow up I can identify what makes them happy. Material things not so much. Yes they like their video games and yes they like their computers. But they don't need to shop at Abercrombie or American Apparel. They don't care about cars or travel. They also have no problem earning "money" for what they want as well. They don't expect everything to be handed to them and they do work for that school grade too. They make no excuses and what the world requires of others they require of themselves.

I think what makes the boys ultimately happy is when people are simply kind to them. But then again, isn't that what makes all of us the happiest, when other human beings treat us with respect, honor and dignity?

As a note: the professor is from Harvard and the students in the study were from Harvard. You can draw your own conclusions about that particular variable as it relates to the study's outcome as well....(snark)

Meanwhile according to an international study the happiest nation on the planet not the Untied States, not anyone in Europe or Asia but ......Israel. Yep, that little nation, no bigger than the state of New Jersey, which is constantly under attack, being threatened with genocide by her neighbors, the victim of rampant antisemitism and Jew-hatred, all while she is maligned internationally for daring to defend her right to exist, is the happiest place on Earth. Hah, and you thought it was Disney Land.



From TED

Dan Gilbert believes that, in our ardent, lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. In the same way that optical illusions fool our eyes -- and fool everyone's eyes in the same way -- Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor predictors of our own bliss.

The premise of his current research -- that our assumptions about what will make us happy are often wrong -- is supported with clinical research drawn from psychology and neuroscience. But his delivery is what sets him apart. His engaging -- and often hilarious -- style pokes fun at typical human behavior and invokes pop-culture references everyone can relate to. This winning style translates also to Gilbert's writing, which is lucid, approachable and laugh-out-loud funny. The immensely readable Stumbling on Happiness, published in 2006, became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages.

In fact, the title of his book could be drawn from his own life. At 19, he was a high school dropout with dreams of writing science fiction. When a creative writing class at his community college was full, he enrolled in the only available course: psychology. He found his passion there, earned a doctorate in social psychology in 1985 at Princeton, and has since won a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Phi Beta Kappa teaching prize for his work at Harvard. He has written essays and articles for The New York Times, Time and even Starbucks, while continuing his research into happiness at his Hedonic Psychology Laboratory.

Read more about Dan Gilbert on the TED Blog »