'Tis the Season. And while shopping has changed, what to get someone remains a problem for all of us. A new paper by the scientists of commerce, marketers, reminds us of what gives the greatest happiness.
Research shows that religious belief is good for the individual and for society. However, Steven Pinker recently claimed that belief in an afterlife, particularly by evangelicals, is a "malignant delusion." This is a rare misstep from a public intellectual who really ought to know better.
Here's what's on tap this time: Is a midlife crisis an unavoidable part of being a social animal? ... Is there an underlying science to scaling an idea, device, or pharmaceutical from the lab to the real-world? ... And what can older companies teach us?
Microsoft Japan decided to try an experiment: Three-day weekends, every weekend. It might be reasonable to assume that productivity would fall in proportion to the number of hours lost, i.e. a 20% drop, right? But that's not what happened. Microsoft observed a 40% increase in productivity.
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." That quote, wrongly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, could still be true, but not for the reason most of us would think. Scientific research suggests that it is the flavor, not the presence of alcohol, that makes drinkers happy.
Whether you end up a multi-millionaire for life, or you lose all your winnings and become homeless within the first year of winning the lottery, is already predetermined — by your disposition. So if you bought a ticket for this week's Powerball, did you previously ask yourself, "Am I a negative Nancy, or a positive Pete?"
They say money can't buy happiness, but it can certainly buy a nice house, a boat or a plane tickets to Hawaii. That has to count for something, right? According to scientists, it does. A recent study from Cambridge University found people who spend money on things they enjoy, like hobbies and other interests, tend to be happier than their peers.
A new, large UK study attempted to discern whether those who are unhappy are more vulnerable to ill health and a shorter lifespan. In fact, the study found that while poor health does often lead to unhappiness, there was no evidence for the converse: unhappiness did not lead to poorer health outcomes.