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Bianka Safian

on 27 August 2014

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Transcript of Happiness

There is something called
1. Synthetic Happiness is Inferior to Natural Happiness.

Thanks for watching!
2. Who's formula is this?
H= V(R) - V(E) + etc

a) Daniel Bernoulli
b) Thomas Brown
c) David Hewson
d) None of the above

4. Explain Bernoulli's formula in your own words.
You all get Big Macs!
Can one be genuinely happy--as one would be if things went as they desired-- if things do not go the way they hoped?
Modern research says that that happiness depends on
your expectations
the uncertainty of the result
how much control you feel you have over the result
comparison with other results
alternative ways to get a result
how you value the results, your goals
Our decisions effect our happiness.
3. What did newlyweds estimate their likelihood of divorce to be?

a) 0.5%
b) 0%
c) 30%
d) 15%
Synthetic Happiness
{a.k.a. Impact Bias}
Impact Bias:
the tendency to overestimate the hedonic impact of future events
People have the ability to simulate in their heads what an outcome will be like
synthetic happiness is just as real as the kind of happiness when you get exactly what you were aiming for.

which future would you prefer to have?
You passed!
Only Kidding, You Failed
Don't Worry! Everyone fails all the time...
Impact Bias
the tendency to overestimate the hedonic impact of future events.
medical tests
sporting events
insults infidelities
weight loss
moving to California...
and lots more!
Tendency for our simulators to work badly.
Telling us that different outcomes are in fact more different than they really are.
The previously listed thing have FAR less impact than people expect them to have. In fact, a recent study, showing how major life traumas effect people, suggests that

if it happened over three months ago (with only a few exceptions)

Because happiness can be synthesized.
"I am the happiest man alive. I have that in me that can convert poverty into riches, adversity to prosperity, and I am more invulnerable than Achilles; fortune hath not one place to hit me."
Sir Thomas Brown,
Religio Medici
Synthetic Happiness
One might think that synthesized happiness is not as real as the kind of happiness one experiences when they get exactly what they'd hoped for
But this is wrong.
The Surprising Science of Happiness
According to David Hewson happiness is how much you
alue the
esult minus how much you
alued what you
xpected to get:
H = V(R) - V(E) + etc
Therefore having low expectations causes people to be happier.
On the Contrary...
Holly J. Morris believes that far from being the sole product of genes, luck, delusions, or ignorance, happiness can be learned and cultivated.
According to Albert Bandura’s Learned Behaviour Theory, people learn through observing other people’s behaviour and then model it.
What makes us happy?
How It Works
So which one is it then?
Optimism Bias
a cognitive illusion
80% of us have it
a tendency to overestimate our likelihood of experiencing good events in our lives & underestimating our likelihood of experiencing bad events
we're more optimistic than realistic & we're oblivious to the fact
for example:
In the Western world, divorce rates are about 40%. That means out of 5 married couples, 2 will end up splitting their assets. But when you ask newlyweds about their own likelihood of divorce, they estimate it at
If you're married you're more likely to have kids....
We all think our kids are especially talented.
Example #2
Out of 4 British people 3 say that they are optimistic about the future of their own families (75%)
But only 30% said that families in general are doing better than a few generations ago.
We're optimistic about our selves, but we're not so optimistic about the guy sitting next to us.
we're somewhat pessimistic about the fate of our fellow citizens, & the fate of our country.
It is assumed that the secret
to happiness is having low expectations, therefore one is pleasantly surprised when good things occur.

People with high expectations always feel better.
As stated by one of Sharot’s studies, students with high expectations think they are geniuses and when they happen to not succeed to their standards, they say it was the tests fault, and next time they would do better.
However, students with low expectations think they are dumb and when they do particularly well on a test, or above their low standards, they say the test was just easy, and next time reality would catch up with them.
When one has low expectations they feel considerably worse.

In one of Sharot’s experiments, Students were asked if they were given an opportunity to have a passionate kiss from a celebrity, how much they would pay for waiting different amounts of time; a day, 2 days, 3, and so on. Majority of students would pay the most to have the kiss in 3 days. They were willing to pay extra to wait, because that would be
3 days of anticipation and jittery excitement.

This is just like why people prefer Friday over the rest of the days of the week, because they have the anticipation of what they are going to do over the weekend.
The act of anticipation makes people happy.
Optimism changes objective & subjective reality
Optimism makes you try harder
, therefore, it leads to success.
It also helps one’s health; since if one expects the future to be bright, stress and anxiety are reduced.
Without the optimism bias, people would be slightly depressed.
Start here!
End here!
Tali Sharot declares this as inaccurate for 3 reasons.
Here's Proof:
The Idea That Changed The World
The Idea That Changed The World
How To Exactly The Right Thing At All Possible Times
Expected Value=
(Odds of Gain) x (Value of Gain)
This idea is not so simple when applying it to everyday life.
People are horrible at estimating both of these things.

There are two kinds of errors people make when trying to decide what the right thing is to do:

Errors in estimating the odds that they're going to succeed.
errors in estimating the value of their own success.
Errors In Odds
Are there more 4-letter English words with R in the 3rd place or the 1st place?

__R_ R___
__R_ R___
its very easy to say to yourself
than it is to say
BUT, in fact, there are many more words with R in the 3rd place than R in the 1st.
This was an example of how the idea, that the quickness at which things come to mind, can give you a sense of their probability.
How this idea can lead you astray.
Estimating Odds is a piece of cake compared to estimating value.
saying what something is worth
how much we'll enjoy it
how much pleasure it will give us
Errors In Value
Is this Big Mac Worth $25?
instead of the
You are on your way to the theatre. In your wallet you have a ticket for which you paid $20, and a $20 bill. When you arrive to the theatre you discover that you've somehow
lost the ticket.

Would you spend your remaining $20 on a ticket?
Most people answer
You are on your way to the theatre. In your wallet you have two $20 bills. When you arrive to the theatre you discover that you've somehow
lost the one of them.
Would you spend your remaining $20 on a ticket?
People say "Well, of course. I went to the theatre to see the play. What does the loss of $20 have to do with it?"
The Lost Ticket
The Lost Money
What We Learned
Impact Bias:

the tendency to overestimate the hedonic impact of future events
Optimism Bias:
a tendency to overestimate our likelihood of experiencing good events in our lives & underestimating our likelihood of experiencing bad events
People with
high expectations
always feel better
The act of
make people happy
Optimism makes you
try harder
Our brains systematically
what will make us happy
Therefore, We are
at making decisions
c) David Hewson
b) 0%
The expected value of any of our actions (the goodness that we count on getting) is the product of two simple things: the odds that the action will allow one to gain something and the value of that gain to us.
Just kidding! Got you again!
Full transcript