Unconventional Approaches to Happiness
While psychologists have cornered the market on what it means to be happy, other fields are slowly examining metrics that might give us a new perspective on the age-old pursuit.
What's the Latest Development?
Has our understanding of happiness been limited by our myopic tendency to consider it a metric belonging only to the psychologist? Linguists and animal behaviorists have recently been dipping their toes into the age-old pursuit. By collecting and studying the words we use across social media platforms, linguists have determined when we are happiest and what situations we associate with positive feelings. Late nights and early mornings spent with friends are good if you want to feel happy.
What's the Big Idea?
In the case of animal behaviorists, experiments have shown that under stressful conditions some species are more "optimistic" than others. When merino ewes and honeybees were confronted with mockups of their natural predators, only the ewes were willing to risk an ambiguous situation that could have led equally to tasty food or a growling dog. Honeybees, however, steered clear of anything that might risk another hive attack. To date, psychologists have not compared human behavior to either species.
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.
- At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
- See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
- There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Hungarian cartographer travels the world while mapping its treasures.
- Simple idea, stunning result: the world's watersheds in glorious colors.
- The maps are the work of Hungarian cartographer Robert Szucs.
- His job: to travel and map the world, one good cause at a time.
Yes, a coup d'état.
- Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
- A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
- Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.