The Science of Happiness
and Well Being?
By Kevin Hogan
What was the answer to the question? I'm assuming no one was
"looking over your shoulder" and no one was in the room?
Most people will say somewhat dissatisfied (4) or (3) sometimes
But that isn't the question the UK survey asks.
The question is How satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
To which the most common response will be somewhat
satisfied or satisfied.
It is the direct opposite of the question I asked you.
It shouldn't matter how a question like this is framed, but it does.
That's just the way you and I are wired. We answer the question
within the perceived context of the question. The question itself
primes the answer in almost all humans.
Shoot....there goes the fun again...
I'll come back here in a minute...
Why is this "research" taking place?
The government's goal is to have a measure other than
GDP or unemployment as a way of gauging life in the UK.
(Everyone knows both of those statistics tend to be flawed
so why not add a third?!)
Let's go back to questions and their "right answers".
Think about these that I am making up on the fly...
Keypoint: The Frame generates the "correct answer".
- How happy are you? (Very)
- How loving are you? (Very)
- How intelligent are you? (Very)
- How good of a parent are you? (Very)
- How good of a driver are you? (Very)
- How fearful of the economy are you? (Very)
- How fearful of your physical safety are you walking the streets at night?
- How concerned your children will have a future ridden with problems? (Very)
Now, can I ask you one of the government's questions.
Write down the answer. I will do so as well.
How happy did you feel yesterday?
5) Very happy
4) Mostly happy
3) Somewhat happy
2) Not very happy
1 Not happy at all.
What did YOU say?
I wrote down
(3 or 4)
Now if someone passed away or you were at the hospital, obviously you
didn't write 3 or 4. But most people will circle/write 3/4.
If I were to ask you how UNhappy you felt yesterday, your brain does
a completely different search. It searches for different emotions
and comes up with something that happened that wasn't very happy at all.
Your answer now changes from 4 to 2 or 3...depending on how the question
(Really! We gravitate toward the top of the scale whatever is up there, "good"
What is rapidly becoming obvious about happiness and wellbeing? ...
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