It’s natural to believe that success will bring you happiness, but a variety of psychologists, including Harvard’s Shawn Achor, have argued that this common-sense understanding is actually backward. Success doesn’t make you happy so much as happiness makes you more successful.
But how much more successful exactly, and how can you ever rigorously, scientifically test something like that?
A team of economists out of the University of Warwick in the U.K. and a German university recently attempted to find out. Their results are soon to be published in the Journal of Labour Economics.
The economists first tested the relationship between happiness and productivity in a lab by randomly assigning volunteers to one of two groups. One set of subjects was treated to a funny video of a stand-up comedian in action as well as some free fruit and chocolate. The others watched a neutral video and got exactly nothing. Needless to say, the participants scarfing the free chocolate were the “happy” group.
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