Posted by | August 4, 2014 21:20 | Filed under: Planet Top Stories

Happiness happens, not because things are going well, but because they’re going better than expected.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, investigated the relationship between happiness and reward, and the neural processes that lead to feelings that are central to our conscious experience, such as happiness. Before now, it was known that life events affect an individual’s happiness but not exactly how happy people will be from moment to moment as they make decisions and receive outcomes resulting from those decisions, something the new equation can predict.

Scientists believe that quantifying subjective states mathematically could help doctors better understand mood disorders, by seeing how self-reported feelings fluctuate in response to events like small wins and losses in a smartphone game. A better understanding of how mood is determined by life events and circumstances, and how that differs in people suffering from mood disorders, will hopefully lead to more effective treatments.

By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

  • Ironically math makes me very unhappy.

    • mrsgunka

      Ya, I just balanced my checkbook too! :-(

  • Although I understand what they’re stating – it’s not exactly ground-breaking news. Bringing math into the subject his like shooting yourself in the foot.

    • Shooting myself in the foot also makes me unhappy.

      • Me too!

      • mrsgunka

        I have been known to stick my foot in my mouth on different occasions also, too. This can be a distasteful habit! Not as painful as shooting one’s foot, however…. :-)

        • I stopped using that metaphore when I became too old to lift my leg that far. I now just say “whoops.” I say that a lot :( .

          • mrsgunka

            A girl can dream, can’t she? “whoops” works just fine! Some days I can barely get a fork into my mouth!

    • fahvel

      bringing in math is more likely a precursor to a new pill or a new gym or new walking shoes – it’s all business – they really don’t care about happiness unless it garners a few $

  • mrsgunka

    When I was a young woman, the mathematical equation of happiness worked on a 28 day cycle! Happy 14 days and a bitch the rest of the time. I was one of those unfortunate girls that today is prescribed birth control for Endometriosis that the right wing want to take away from all the “sluts” who suffer from it! After 2 children 13 month apart, they came out with birth control and my disposition improved tremendously. The last 2 were planned. It also was a precursor for the breast cancer I got at 66, but have made it 7 years post-op so I am a happy camper again. At 75, the hot flashes have returned but no cancer. That makes me happy! Or perhaps the correct word is grateful! I’m not too convinced of their findings of mathematical happiness. Maybe before the Teabager’s took over and pre-Bush!

  • labman57

    Rumor is that whenever a tea party politico applies the equation to their own emotional psyche, the result consistently ends up containing the square root of two … which explains why they tend to be so highly irrational.

  • peacedreamer

    I always liked science & math, but I don’t think this study has much value.
    I’ve heard it said that if you’re doing things in order to be happy (i.e. get a reward) you’re doing them in the wrong order. Happy inside —> happy outside.
    The holographic universe ….microcosm = macrocosm
    Be the joy you seek?