A team of psychologists led by Kostadin Kushlev of Georgetown University examined the idea that individual happiness may act as an impediment to solving the world’s problems.
“As nations across the globe become more interested in human happiness, some have expressed concerns about the downsides of being happier,” state Kushlev and his team of collaborators. “What if in our rush to make everyone happy, people became complacent about the plight of their local communities, society, and the world?”
The data, however, do not support this line of reasoning. If anything, Kushlev and his team suggest that the reverse might be true — that happy people might be more inclined to tackle the world’s problems.
To arrive at this conclusion, the researchers explored data from the General Social Survey (GSS), an annual survey that asks Americans to weigh in on a variety of topics including national spending, race relations, and confidence in institutions.
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