Winners happy no matter what the price, losers happier with larger prices

We always love to learn new things about happiness.

the authors ran two experiments. In the first, 297 people on the Boston streets were given lottery tickets. They were asked to scratch off one side and received cash in the amount printed underneath-$1, $3, $5, or $7. Then they scratched off the other side, revealing either a higher or lower amount. Afterwards, they completed questionnaires rating their happiness, disappointment, or regret.

The “winners” (who got the bigger of two amounts) were, unsurprisingly, happier than the losers — but also equally happy with any prize. The losers’ happiness, by contrast, increased with the prize amounts.

That’s an interesting revelation – people’s brains seem to work their way to happiness one way or another.

In four trials, 31 participants were asked to memorize either a two- or an eight-digit number and choose one of two boxes with prize amounts ($3 or $5) inside, which were displayed on a screen. At the end, they were told, they’d receive the amount in one of their chosen boxes, randomly selected. Then both boxes opened. Unknown to the participants, the design made them all losers — they’d always pick the lesser amount. The combinations of memory difficulty — “cognitive load” — and cash received ($3 or $5) varied. In each trial, participants rated their feelings.

Again, larger prizes made these losers happier — but only when they had enough brainpower to think about it. Under higher cognitive load, they were glad to get either amount.

Source: Association for Psychological Science (2011, April 5). Happiness, comparatively speaking: How we think about life’s rewards. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from­/releases/2011/04/110405161911.htm

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A New Book On Happiness: The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman

Here’s a booktrailer for a cool new book on happiness and positive psychology:

And here the book:

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Alfred Hitchcock on Happiness

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Books on Creativity by Brainpicker

Great collection of books on creativity by @brainpicker.

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Steve Jobs on Creativity

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.

– Steve Jobs

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Enhance Creativity By Acting Out Metaphors

Thinking creatively – thinking outside the box – gets easier if you actually have a real physical box and actually put it physically away.

Sounds like those primary school kind of silly exercises? Well, this reserach found that it actually works:

Angela K.-y. Leung, Suntae Kim, Evan Polman, Lay See Ong, Lin Qiu, Jack A. Goncalo, and Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks Embodied Metaphors and Creative “Acts”Psychological Science May 2012 23: 502-509, first published on April 3, 2012 doi:10.1177/0956797611429801



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Placebos cause opioid release

Wager: Placebos cause opioid release, reduce brain activation in pain-processing areas, correlate well with self-report #APS2012

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Psychology of Winning

What makes a winner? Why do some succeed both in life and in business, and others fail? And why do a few individuals end up supremely powerful, while many remain powerless? Are men more likely to be power junkies than women? The ‘winner effect’ is a term used in biology to describe how an animal that has won a few fights against weak opponents is much more likely to win later bouts against stronger contenders. As Ian Robertson reveals, it applies to humans, too. Success changes the chemistry of the brain, making you more focused, smarter, more confident and more aggressive. The effect is as strong as any drug. And the more you win, the more you will go on to win.

From The Winner Effect: How Power Affects Your Brain by Ian Robertson

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When fishing for happiness, catch and release.

a kind of conceptual toolbox that lets us peer into the computational underbelly of our minds and its central processes — memory, perception, motivation and emotion, critical thinking, social cognition, and language — to better understand not only how the mind works but also how we can optimize it for happiness.

read more…

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Six Rules of Creativity = 1 Rule of Creativity = There Are No Rules About Creativity

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