A new survey corroborates another set of studies which show that happy people watch thirty percent less T.V. than unhappy people. The General Social Survey has shown that happy people report watching an average of 19 hours of television per week and unhappy people report watching six more hours of television on average (education, income, age and marital status were controlled for).
The researchers have established a correlation between watching television and being unhappy but they don't know whether unhappiness leads to more television-watching or more television watching leads to unhappiness. After all, T.V might be a way for unhappy people to avoid dealing with the things that make them unhappy. Again, if you follow this blog, you are probably aware that another explanation of this data has been proposed: people who watch television are engaged in passive downtime (such as 'pooping out' in front of the boob-tube) miss out on the gratification of engaging in active downtime (such as riding a bike) or social activities which have been shown to increase your subjective well-being.
1) Occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time
2) Anxiety makes waits seem longer
3) Uncertain waits are longer than known, finite waits
4) Unexplained waits are longer than explained waits
5) Unfair waits are longer than equitable waits
6) The more valuable the service, the longer the customer will wait
7) Solo waits feel longer than group waits
Larson has discovered that fair play is important: first come, first served lines work best, and unfair lines can lead to what he calls "que rage." This is really really interesting isn't it?
I don't think so either. To be honest with you, this gave me a good excuse to post an old (but excellent) Kids in the Hall video, but if you're interested, you can read the entire article on this topic here.
It turns out thinking faster is significantly associated with positive mood, but there was also evidence that thinking faster might inflate your self-esteem and make it harder for you to stop talking. Apparently, thinking fast about ostensibly depressing things can improve mood too! The authors conclude that "experiences that can succeed in making us think fast may have desirable consequences for affect (and, perhaps, for energy and self-confidence). In a world where we often could use an extra boost to our mood, simple manipulations of thought speed may have valuable practical importance." Awesome!
I present you Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on 'Thinking Allowed'!
Sorry I haven't posted anything in awhile. I just got back from a long, arduous journey; I had to help my fiancee move from New Haven, CT to Talahassee, FL. I promise I'll be updating 'the Hic' regularly again.
The authors don't address the truly puzzling cases that troubled Easterlin: why, for example, are Venezuelans happier than Americans? Why, exactly, are extremely wealthy nations (such as Japan) as happy or slightly happier than poor nations (such as Jamaica)?
As far as I'm concerned, this chart reveals the gross hedonic inefficiency of wealthy nations (and, conversely, the hedonic ingenuity of less wealthy nations). Remember, money is extrinsically valuable, and this data provides us with reasons to reconsider the way we use it.
Now, Daniel Kahneman, Alan Krueger, David Schkade, Norbert Schwarz and Arthur Stone have shown that we spend too much time engaged in 'neutral downtime' when we could be engaged in more gratifying activites. Interestingly, it has also been shown that people who have televisions in their homes report greater well-being than do those who do not have televisions in their homes. I wonder why...