Interesting article on happiness research

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Interesting article on happiness research

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:49 am

Greetings, I thought some of you might be interested:

Stingy, happy people


A lot of psychological research suggests that happy people make better citizens: they are more inclined to help others out, are better at making social contact and have higher morale. However, Cahit Guvan, an Economics lecturer at Deakin University, has found that being too contented has the opposite effect: very positive, happy people tend not to contribute as much as their slightly grumpier counterparts.



Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/well ... z1Protodjv


What do you think?

Ben
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- Heraclitus


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Re: Interesting article on happiness research

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:51 am

I'll go along with this:
sociologist Barbara Ehrenreich argued that "positive thinking" and a relentlessly upbeat attitude essentially amount to a selfish state of delusion.

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Re: Interesting article on happiness research

Postby ground » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:31 am

Ben wrote:Greetings, I thought some of you might be interested:

... very positive, happy people tend not to contribute as much as their slightly grumpier counterparts.


Experience of suffering ("slightly grumpier") enhances empathy.


Kind regards
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Re: Interesting article on happiness research

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:44 am

Greetings Ming,
TMingyur wrote:
Ben wrote:Greetings, I thought some of you might be interested:

... very positive, happy people tend not to contribute as much as their slightly grumpier counterparts.


Experience of suffering ("slightly grumpier") enhances empathy.


Kind regards


Yet, everyone experiences suffering. Yet not everyone who suffers experience enhanced empathy.
What I would like to know is, how happiness is defined by the researcher and what are the ndicators of happiness in the research. I think that could be quite telling and may explain the result.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Interesting article on happiness research

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:17 am

Hi, Ben,
You may well be able to track down the research that article is based on. Journalists usually work from press releases for short pieces like that, or else from recently published scientific journal articles. Either way, googling the researchers' names plus any significant words will usually get you a result.
(Sometimes also gets you supplementary material which is as good as the original.)

Happy hunting!
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Re: Interesting article on happiness research

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:39 pm

From the article:

"Neither the very happy nor the very unhappy contribute as much to society as those who are somewhere in between."

Using Google Scholar, I found this:

"This paper offers new findings which support the hypothesis that a causal link from happiness to social capital might exist. The paper exploits the very long German socio-economic panel of around 15000 people. Using the prospective study methodology, it finds that happier people contribute more to social capital. Both parametric and nonparametric results suggest that there exists an inverted-U shape relationship between happiness to social capital. Moreover, optimism appears to be an important channel through which happiness is linked to social capital. The paper also presents residual happiness as a measure of optimism which might be a valuable tool for empirical researchers. The results are robust to inclusion of various controls including the initial level of social capital, random sampling, non-linearity, different measures of social capital, and estimation techniques."

The article's headline and provocative first paragraph are misleading.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Interesting article on happiness research

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:49 pm

Thanks Dave

Even for an esteemed publication such as The Age, I would have been surprised if the newspaper didn't sensationalize or exagerate some aspect to attract interest. They're certainly not Robinson Caruso in that department!
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Interesting article on happiness research

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:11 pm

Ben wrote:Greetings, I thought some of you might be interested:

Stingy, happy people


A lot of psychological research suggests that happy people make better citizens: they are more inclined to help others out, are better at making social contact and have higher morale. However, Cahit Guvan, an Economics lecturer at Deakin University, has found that being too contented has the opposite effect: very positive, happy people tend not to contribute as much as their slightly grumpier counterparts.



Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/well ... z1Protodjv


What do you think?

Ben


It would seem to fall under the sentiment "they needed to spend money to find that out?", but it isn't about coming up with an original idea, but *proving* it with something stronger than just anecdotal observations.

It seems like common sense, if people are happy they aren't going to be driven to fix things, but like the quote implies, they are also going to be making fewer problems to fix in the first place.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Interesting article on happiness research

Postby ground » Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:56 am

Ben wrote:Greetings Ming,
TMingyur wrote:
Experience of suffering ("slightly grumpier") enhances empathy.


Kind regards


Yet, everyone experiences suffering. Yet not everyone who suffers experience enhanced empathy.


Ah yes. That's true. So if everybody suffers - at least "occassionally" if we refer to "consciously suffering" it seems as if empathy can be learned.
Returning to the topic ... another question is whether there is a relationship between a certain kind of "happiness" and a capacity to experience empathy.

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Re: Interesting article on happiness research

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:02 am

Thanks Ming.
One of the reasons I'm interested in the study is because of the nature of happiness as defined by Buddhist literature and experienced via praxis in contrast to happiness as defined (if tacitly so) by our secular modern consumption-centric social expectations and behaviours.
I think its an interesting area.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Interesting article on happiness research

Postby ground » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:16 am

Hi Ben

yes an interesting area. In terms of its economic contexts it is interesting regarding two aspects:
1. a kind of "market research" motivation that may inhere depending on the sponsors of these kind of studies
and ... on the contrary
2. the motivation to investigate the conditions for contentment (of individuals in society) in times of economic deprivation (i.g. economic regression, monetary inflation, cutback of social security systems).

Ben wrote:... the nature of happiness as defined by Buddhist literature and experienced via praxis in contrast to happiness as defined (if tacitly so) by our secular modern consumption-centric social expectations and behaviours.

I suspect the secular "happiness" which is the object of these kinds of studies to be what is characterized as feelings on the scale between "pleasant" and "neutral" (pervaded by ignorance) in a buddhist context.

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