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Measuring Happiness


ku
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Is there a method researchers can use to measure a person's degree of satisfaction?

 

What hormones or chemicals are measured if we wanted to guage a person's happiness? Or do we measure brain activity? What area of the brain is asociated with happiness or satisfaction?

 

If it were possible to do such research, media executives can more accurately predict how much satisfactions viewers will get from movies, books, newspapers, etc.

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Is there a method researchers can use to measure a person's degree of satisfaction?

Probably the best way would just be to ask them.

 

What hormones or chemicals are measured if we wanted to guage a person's happiness? Or do we measure brain activity? What area of the brain is asociated with happiness or satisfaction?

Well, cortisol is the stress hormone, so low levels of that would be associated with low stress. The nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area are associated with reward, as is the transmitter substance dopamine. Higher activity in those areas and higher levels of dopamine are associated with euphoria and reward.

 

If it were possible to do such research, media executives can more accurately predict how much satisfactions viewers will get from movies, books, newspapers, etc.

Nope, not really. All these things, cortisol levels, dopamine levels and activity in the brain reward system are only correlates of the experience. For example, high levels of cortisol are associated with stress, but low levels (and the absence of the post waking spike) can also be associated with depression. Dopamine is the principal substance in the reward system. Higher levels there are associated with euphoria and happiness, but high levels of dopamine are also associated with schitzophrenia.

 

You could try galvanic skin response (GSR) measurements whilst people were watching the films/reading the books etc., but even these are just corrolates of stress responses. You couldn't translate the recordings into experience in any meaningful way. How would you tell the difference between e.g. excitement and anger (very similar GSR), or 'calmness' and 'about to go to sleep through boredom' (again, very similar GSR).

 

As I said, probably the best way of measuring a person's level of satisfaction would be just to ask them, and I believe that media executives spend a lot of time and money doing that already.

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Is there a method researchers can use to measure a person's degree of satisfaction?

f it were possible to do such research' date=' media executives can more accurately predict how much satisfactions viewers will get from movies, books, newspapers, etc.[/quote']

 

 

OH hi Ku.

 

this is precisely my area of fascination at the moment.

I'm thinking that some form of non invasive scan would be good.

 

But MRI devices are not so good yet.

 

I'm hoping that there is a three dimensional fractal type landscape pattern that will be easily recognisable as happiness.

 

But - I have noticed one thing about the way the human body reacts to the environment,

is it's relativity.

 

for example if you feel hot or cold.

It just takes a one degree drop in temperature to feel a slight chill, yet that drop can occur from a starting point of 33deg cel or a much lower 25 deg cel.

 

So what I’m trying to say is for your book/film test, it depends upon your state of mind before the stimulus.

 

And between you and me, I think the marketing people have already got way too many scientific tools at their disposal - (to try and part me from my hard earned money).

I mean if you could equate capitalists to the national socialist party in their desire for power and control. Then the marketing divisions would be the SS.

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  • 1 month later...

I know that Tibetan monks are supposed to be the happiest people on earth because their left frontal lobes are much larger than normal peoples and that part of the brain deals with happiness

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But - I have noticed one thing about the way the human body reacts to the environment' date='

is it's relativity.

 

for example if you feel hot or cold.

It just takes a one degree drop in temperature to feel a slight chill, yet that drop can occur from a starting point of 33deg cel or a much lower 25 deg cel.

 

So what I’m trying to say is for your book/film test, it depends upon your state of mind before the stimulus.

 

[/quote']

 

I agree, and psychologists have a term for an effect similar to what you describe called the Hedonic Treadmill. No matter how happy you become, it doesn't take long for that happiness to become a baseline and you return to a neutral state. Interviews of past lottery winners have indicated that while the euphoria is great when first experienced, it fades usually by a year's time.

 

I think it would be wise to distinguish between 'happiness' and 'contentment,' Emotional happiness is an physically elevated state, and this should not last too long lest it harm the body (excessive and prolonged dopamine levels shrink its receptors in the brain--much like a cocaine addiction). Contentment, however is a state of mind, fused with one's personality, therefore can be more stable.

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I know that Tibetan monks are supposed to be the happiest people on earth because their left frontal lobes are much larger than normal peoples and that part of the brain deals with happiness

No it doesn't

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  • 2 weeks later...

Perhaps happy people are less likely to adopt unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, and eating entire pints of Ben & Jerry's.

 

Before something can be measured, it must be defined; the measurement system selected will probably define the thing being measured.

 

As to the marketing issue, unhappiness encourages people to make unnecessary purchases.

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  • 6 years later...
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