Can you put an equation to happiness?

Yeah, it’s true. Scientists have created an equation that can determine how happy you can be at a given moment. To me, personally, it looks like a bunch of gibberish which I can only hope to understand. But in plain English, it shows the relationship between your expectations for how good (or bad) something’s gonna be, and how happy you are with the outcome of it (it takes in other factors, but that’s the basics).

(I had the photo here on my draft for a few months, looking tirelessly for evidence that I could find the formula image public domain, but when I traced it back to the University College London, which required requests, I took the easy way out and put a link here to a Huffington post article that contained it.)

This is based off a study with 26 participants, in which they earn 20 pounds (£) to start, and can gamble it to earn money (or lose it). They expressed more happiness per pound if that gamble had gone beyond their expectations. In a game mimicking the study that comes with The Great Brain Experiment app (free), results are parallel to the study, except they don’t use real money.
A recent publication based on the data received from the game states that risk taking for potential gain decreases as you age. This is likely because there are less dopamine receptors as you go throughout your life. However, they will take risks to avoid potential loss (as in, avoiding risky gain, taking the risk that they might make as much as much cumulatively by avoiding it.  Confusing, right?).
You can get the app on the App Store and on Google Play. By playing, you’d be contributing to scientific research (for kids, this would make screen time more worthwhile).
When it comes to your expectations, don’t resolve to make all of your expectations lower. You can actually be made happy by the high expectations themselves, like when you’re booking hotels for a vacation. However, if your expectations are too high, it can counteract the effect if the hotel does not meet them, making you unhappy.
To round that out, everything (expectations included) can be good in moderation.

Sources:
The Great Brain Experiment (publications)
The Conversation
Huffington Post
Photo is ours!

It’s amazing world of science out there…let’s go exploring!

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