Hello Fellow Hedonists,
The hustle and bustle of activity that has occured since my haitus is a bit overwhelming, but I am going to do my best to cover it here:
1) Peter Clough (University of Hull), in collaboration with AQR, has shown it is possible to teach kids to be tough (which they claim you can measure using the MTQ48) and that doing so has the beneficial effects you would expect, given other research on the benefits of resilience.
2) Research on hedonic adaptation has shown that “Within a few years, paraplegics wind up only slightly less happy on average than individuals who are not paralyzed.” Recently, researchers have shown that, ironically, functionally impaired patients with diseases such as amytrophic lateral sclerosis might be depressed (and, consequently, decline life sustaining treatment) because they don't realize that having the disease won't nessecarily compromise subjective quality of life (if they accept life sustaining treatment). It was also shown that, unsurprisingly, educated patients adapt to the illness better, from a hedonic point of view (this might be surprising if you buy into the myth of the melancholic genius).
3) Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin have shown that having strong family ties is a much bigger predictor of contentment than income. This research seems to support the jist of the Easterlin Paradox: money matters up to a point (when basic needs are met), then, other things matter more. In the words of Rebecca J. North, one of the researchers,"Our findings underscore the importance of additional policy indicators that can tap the well-being of individuals and families at the psychosocial level to provide a more comprehensive understanding of a nation's well-being." As I have argued in other places, researchers often forget that money is extrinsically valuable. If it has any influence on subjective well-being, it is probably because of how it is used.
4) It has previously been shown old people are as happy as young people. This is puzzling, in part, because old people spend more time alone, which has been shown to cause (and be caused by) depression. In the current issue of Psychology and Ageing, Bill Von Hipple has shown that "older people are just as satisfied with their social lives because they seem to get much more from the few interactions they have." In other words, the old aren't lonely because the elderly simply adapt, hedonically, to being less social than they used to be.
6) Previously, I have discussed the link between subjective well-being and health. A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown "that positive affective states are related to favourable profiles of functioning in several biological systems and may thereby be relevant to risk of development of physical illness."