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Happiness

Analysis and Comment (24)

Is morality – and happiness – determined by how you affect the people around you? Is morality – and happiness – determined by how you affect the people around you? Shutterstock

Telling right from wrong: why is utilitarianism under attack?

It is a word we hear from time to time, but few of us know what it means. Utilitarianism is the method most people use to decide whether an action is right or wrong. We decide the moral merits of what…
Once people reach a certain threshold of material comfort, extra money makes very little difference. Once people reach a certain threshold of material comfort, extra money makes very little difference. Lotus Carroll/Flickr

Can money buy happiness?

If survey data are to be trusted, there’s a surprisingly weak relationship between money and happiness. As national incomes rise, happiness does not increase. Consider this: happiness in the United States…
Temptation is everywhere. Temptation is everywhere. Vivian Viola

Losing weight might make you healthier but not happier

Supermodel Kate Moss' quip that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” captured the sense in society that being thin is the recipe for happiness. Obesity causes a range of health problems, including…
Football’s growth, while based on the game’s intrinsic nature, is also indebted to the World Cup. Football’s growth, while based on the game’s intrinsic nature, is also indebted to the World Cup. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

In a globalised world, the football World Cup is a force for good

FIFA, world football’s governing body, is not a perfect multinational corporation. It would be quite naïve to envisage that the World Cup should have the capacity to bring world peace, fix global inequality…
If you would like to see a large number of desperately poor people enjoy the joy of a World Cup victory, you should cheer for Nigeria. If you would like to see a large number of desperately poor people enjoy the joy of a World Cup victory, you should cheer for Nigeria. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

Stuck for a World Cup team? Shoot for the happiness dividend

Let’s be realistic. Australia is the lowest ranked of the 32 teams in the World Cup, and despite a very creditable performance in its first match against Chile, its chances of making it out of the group…
Celebrity couple Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced a split after 10 years of marriage. Celebrity couple Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced a split after 10 years of marriage. EPA/Britta Pedersen & Jose Coelho

The science of romance – can we predict a breakup?

Oscar winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin seemed to have the perfect marriage until their “conscious uncoupling” earlier this year. Was the split destined to happen? What…
Chocolate heaven. Chocolate heaven. Charlie Dave

Why chocolate really is the secret to happiness

Money may not buy happiness or grow on trees but when it comes to chocolate, it seems you can have both. Chocolate really does grow on trees and the chemical feel-good factor comes from the world’s most…
Can the pursuit of happiness as an evolutionary phenomenon really be explained to a scientific standard? Can the pursuit of happiness as an evolutionary phenomenon really be explained to a scientific standard? www.shutterstock.com

Wired for happiness? Evolutionary psychology falls short of science

Has evolution wired you to pursue happiness? Some researchers think so. The granddaddy of positive psychology Martin Seligman draws on evolutionary theory – or at least its bastard offspring, evolutionary…
Building stronger personal relationships and collective well-being are proven to promote greater happiness. Building stronger personal relationships and collective well-being are proven to promote greater happiness. Swamibu/Flickr

Government goals and policy get in the way of our happiness

Australian government policy and happiness research are pointing in very different directions. A prime goal of government policy is economic growth. Many Australians go along with this, assuming that more…
Like humans, ‘man’s best friend’ can sense our emotions through voice alone. Like humans, ‘man’s best friend’ can sense our emotions through voice alone. Flickr/TheGiantVermin

Dogs hear human happiness – it’s in his (or her) master’s voice

Dogs really are our best friends. A study published today in Current Biology shows not only do dogs and humans read emotions in each other’s “voices”, but both are more attuned to “happy” sounds. And the…
All smiles: is this really the kind of society we want? All smiles: is this really the kind of society we want? zoomar

The happiness agenda makes for miserable policy

How happy do you feel today? How satisfied are you with your life? Do you think your life has any worth? These are the kind of questions increasingly put to survey respondents as academics and politicians…
How are you feeling today? Mobile phones tell us more than ever. How are you feeling today? Mobile phones tell us more than ever. Jonathan Adami

Mobile phones are a window to the soul in modern research

What does your world look like? What are the contours of your neighbourhood? How are you feeling today? Mobile phones are increasingly providing us with the answers to these questions. In our daily activities…
We need a better way of understanding and predicting how well our society is doing. We need a better way of understanding and predicting how well our society is doing. Klesta/Flickr

A more sustainable Australia: measuring success

A more sustainable Australia. As the 2013 election campaign continues, we’ve asked academics to look at some of the long-term issues affecting Australia – the issues that will shape our future. How successful…
When you’re smiling: research has previously shown the more politically conservative you are, the happier you tend to be. But how true is it? When you’re smiling: research has previously shown the more politically conservative you are, the happier you tend to be. But how true is it? AAP/Alan Porritt

Jokers to the right: why conservatives are happier

Although Labor supporters may find it easier to smile since the impending election became something of a contest in June, Coalition voters may always have more to smile about. It has nothing to do with…
Wanting things can make you happier than purchasing them straight away. Wanting things can make you happier than purchasing them straight away. Shutterstock

Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can put it on lay-by

The fact that that money can’t buy you happiness is generally well accepted. Happiness, it appears, is more about meaning and satisfaction than the acquisition of more stuff. But money isn’t all bad. It…
Finding happiness is about more than making money. Finding happiness is about more than making money. Rui Vieira/PA

Economic migration may not lead to happiness

People who move to wealthier countries surely expect that migration will lead them to a better life – but new research suggests that economic migrants are unlikely to achieve greater happiness in their…
There’s more to life than buying stuff. There’s more to life than buying stuff. Steve Parsons/PA

Austerity may have breathed new life into true happiness

We are now five years into the largest financial crisis in decades and yet, paradoxically, people don’t seem to be more unhappy than they were before. The UK ranked 10th of the countries surveyed for the…
Want to be happy? It’s all about the green. Want to be happy? It’s all about the green. epSos.de/Flickr

It’s official: city parks make us happy

Spending time with nature in our cities' parks and gardens can improve individual satisfaction in life and make us less aggressive, anxious and stressed. So isn’t it time we placed access to nature alongside…
Sadness is a natural human emotion. Sadness is a natural human emotion. D Sharon Pruitt/Flickr.

Is the promotion of happiness making us sad?

Western culture places an extraordinary emphasis on happiness – and continuous happiness – as the goal each of us should strive for in our lives. But we’re increasingly realising this goal may actually…
Go on, give us a smile. It’ll make the country a better place to be. Go on, give us a smile. It’ll make the country a better place to be. Flickr/ToniVC

Your country needs you to be happy. Just not overly so.

Be happy for the good of your country. Happy people save more and consume less because they are concerned with the future rather than today. Their savings will be transferred into investment which is a…
Goethe says we should approach life as an architect views a vast quarry. Goethe says we should approach life as an architect views a vast quarry. AAP

A deficit of the soul or why being rich won’t make Australia happier

Decent people take comfort in the idea that money is not profoundly connected with happiness. There are statistics that suggest that as income increases happiness does not rise to an equal degree; and…

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