김수형 감독 5중심
We'll now jump to the third annoying feature that we're going to see really messes up all those happiness judgments we saw. That's the fact that our minds are built to get used to stuff. We just have these minds that adapt over time and habituate. Again, since we think in terms of vision, we can see this really well in a situation of Perceptual Adaptation. Have you ever been in a super dark room where you walk out into the light and all of a sudden you're like, "The outside, the brightest thing ever. What's going on?" Well, your visual system has adapted to being in the dark. So much so that it just assumes the dark is going to be there. When you get this contrasting thing, this bright thing, you're like, "What is going on?" This happens in the context of light. It also happens in cool ways in the context of color. And that's where I'll give you your visual illusion in the context of absolutes for the day. We'll see if this works so bear with me here. What I want you to do is to stare at this image as much as possible. And what I'm going to try to do is to habituate and let your color receptors adapt to assuming this color that you're looking at is just the color you see in the world. So, be staring at it really, really intensely and so on. And then when I get rid of it, if this works, you should see a really brief after image of the opposite colors that come on. Your brain has assumed so strong that those colors were there that as soon as they go away, assumes the other colors might be there even though it's just white. Here's a more timely one. I'm going to leave this on longer to see if it works. Stare at this image. You may not know who this person is. Stare, stare, stare. Eyes really big staring, starting, staring. She goes away, and tell who it was. It was Beyonce, but anyway, you're supposed to do this with your screen close. Anyway, Coursera will have it and it all work out. But basically, this is the phenomena of Perceptual Adaptation. Your perceptual systems just in those few seconds, are just assuming like, "Oh, the state of the world is just like I see a reverse flag on the screen and that's just like the way it is." And as soon as it goes away, you're like, "Whoa, what's happening?" Right? You're getting used to stuff over time. The phenomena is the same in the context of hedonics, in the context of what makes us happy. It's not like we just get a stimulus and it's there and we notice it all the time. We just get used to it. And this is this phenomena of Hedonic Adaptation. I'll give you a quick definition of this. This is this process of becoming accustomed to both positive stuff and negative stuff, such that the effects you get from that emotionally don't work as well over time. This is the thing that makes a lot of the awesome stuff we see not as awesome. And I love this little meme of the cat facing this awesome thing, the cat saying he's faced with all these hot dogs, she's saying, "Yes, I believe I'm going to enjoy this." And I feel like this is the situation we face a lot. We see this hedonic stimulus, that's awesome. Like, "I'm going to get this and it's going to be awesome. And the more I get of it, the more awesome it is going to be." And the fact is, this is just wrong. This is just not the way it works and it doesn't work like that in part because of Hedonic Adaptation. The problem with all these awesome things that once we get them, usually they tend to stick around and we get a new job you're going to be in that job for a while. You buy awesome stuff, a new car, a house. You meet the person of your dreams. You achieve this perfect grades, you get a certain GPA. These things stick around, you get used to them. They become the new normal. They stop bringing you the happiness that you expect. And they reset your reference point for the future. This is one of the reasons that when we get this stuff, it doesn't make us happy. This is really what's going on. Can we see these effects? How about these effects in the context of money? Do we habituate to money? You might think, "No, if I had awesome money, I would love it forever." But you just saw the effects I talked about, which is that as soon as your income gets bumped up one dollar more, you actually want a dollar 40 more, like a really particular regular spot where you get these sort of form of hedonic adaptation. There's an even better study that looked at this by Di Tella et al., where they really looked at individual people at their salary adaptation over time. They tracked people across almost 20 years in Germany. As their salary went up and up it up, they tried to see, are you getting used to it? And here's what they find. Here is people's salaries. This is the 90s like dotcom boom, and people's salary was like. And here's what they're happiness looks like. It's just flat, you just get used to it. That's the context of money. How about an extreme case in the context of money, maybe like over time, there's such small changes you can get used to them. But what if you get a big windfall all of a sudden? What if you win millions of dollars in the lottery? Surely, you would notice that. Surely, you wouldn't get adapted to that. Well, Brickman and colleagues did a very famous study where they looked at lottery winners one year on and they assess their happiness. Lottery winners versus controls who did not win the lottery. What you find is lottery winners report about four out of six happiness. That seems pretty good, until you realize that controls who haven't won the lottery are at 3.82 statistically no different in that case. Even like this huge windfall, you think you're not going to get used to having a bazillion dollars. You actually just do. This is also true in marriages, as you guys saw. I love this cartoon of the happy people who are just married. But then two years later, they're just married. That's all they are. We saw this graph last time. Basically, if you missed it last time, here's the graph of marriage satisfaction. As you get to time zero of marriage, life satisfaction goes up. But then by two years and you're no statistically different, and then you just habituate to your partner. They stay around. You just get used to them just like Perceptual Adaptation. What about one that's a little bit more close to home? This phenomenon of going to Yale. You guys have been at Yale for a while, most of you, so if you forget how happy you are when you first find out that you go Yale, so to remind you, I went to YouTube where I was happy to learn that there's a lot of these, except college acceptance videos, where people film. This seems so anxiety provoking to me. I can't imagine that people do this like take a video of themselves as they're clicking, but they are there and if you watch them, those people are very happy to find out they got in. So, this morning when you got up and as soon as you got up, you realize you're in school where you're like, "Wait, I'm a Yale student." Were you like, "I'm at Yale. Holy crap. Holy crap." Probably, you guys are laughing because, no. Why is this all the case? Well, the psychologist, Dan Gilbert, with his fantastic book called Stumbling Into Happiness, is a really great quip about this, where he notes that wonderful things are especially wonderful the first time they happen. But they're wonderful and this wanes with repetition. That moment when you're like, "I'm going to Yale," the first time you realize that, that is fantastic. But the subsequent moments, you just get used to them. He also has these examples that you guys are too young to realize but he talks about the first time your partner says, "I love you." It's just like the best ever. But like last Tuesday, when they say I love you, it's just nothing. Or it's the first time your child says mommy or daddy, it's like the best thing ever. But then,17 years later, when you guys say mommy and daddy, it just loses its thing. But this is sad, right? Because we want to maintain the awesomeness of all these moments. These things are going to stick around. We want them to remain as awesome, but as we get used to them, we just get sad and bored over time which is kind of
Okay. So, what's Annoying Feature #2? Annoying feature of the mind number two which is rampant throughout the mind, is that our minds just don't think in terms of absolutes. We just don't think in terms of the true thing that's out there. Instead, we think in these very relative terms. And we're constantly judging relative to what I'm going to call a reference point. What do I mean by reference point? Well, it can mean all kinds of different things, but for the purpose of this, we're going to talk in terms of this salient, but often completely irrelevant point against to which we're judging something all the time. There's a really cool illusion in vision. Some of you may have seen that involves such reference points. This is an illusion known as the Ebbinghaus illusion. Some of you guys seen this before. Show of hand? Some people not everybody? Well, the illusion comes when thinking about those orange circles in the center. So, which of the two orange circles do you think is the larger orange circle? Donora. Right side. One on the right. Yeah. Well, of course it's an illusion. Someone messing with you guys, right? In fact, they are exactly the same size as you can see when I get rid of the circles. But because of the presence of these other circles on the outside, these are the reference point blue circles, we actually don't see the circles at the same size, we can't. Even though they're absolutely the same size. We can only see them relative, so when you're looking at this orange circle over here, you think, whoa that a circle must be super big, because all that blue circles around there are so small. And then when we look at the orange circle on the right, we think whoa that orange circles got to be really tiny, because look at how big the other circles are there. We're not seeing in terms of absolutes. Whenever there's a reference point on the side of something, we actually see it differently. This is this phenomenon in spades. We are constantly judging relative to other stuff out there in the world, and it messes up our judgement of what the thing we really care about. Our particular decision or a particular circle. What size, what magnitude, what awesomeness it really is. So that's vision. The question is, do we actually see these kinds of reference points messing up our happiness judgments? Is it really the case that we judge the kinds of events that happen in our lives? And whether they're great or not, relative to these kind of irrelevant other things. One of the most famous examples of this, was talked about by Medvec and his colleagues. And it actually involves, like situations that people experience in real life. Some of you may watch these kinds of things, like sporting events like the Olympics. So, here's one of the most famous examples of these kinds of reference points messing up happiness. So, some of you folks might remember who this guy is, Michael Phelps. This is Michael Phelps with one of his Brazilian's of Gold medals that he won and I think this is the 2008, 200 meter swim or something like that. But, he just won the gold medal. He's pretty happy. You can tell by his expression. And so that's one point of happiness. But is Michael Phelps a relevant reference point for other people's happiness. So, let's look at the dude who is on the side of him, who won the Silver. And ideas we might predict from absolute level, if you win a Silver medal, it's like you're pretty happy, right? You just won a medal in the Olympics, but you might be slightly less happy than Michael Phelps, right? So, we might predict that the guy who won the silver expression is happy, but not as happy as Michael Phelps. Well, this is László C, I think, or Cseh, László Cseh. He's from Budapest. And you can see from his expression his like way less happy than Michael Phelps. He is not looking very happy at all. Much less happy than you might have predicted. Well, if he the Silver winner is that unhappy, what can we predict about the guy who's the Bronze winner? He must be like super unhappy Iike frowning up there, right? Well, I will reveal the Bronze winner, it's Ryan Lochte from back in the day, but you can see he is not super super unhappier than the silver medal winner. He's actually looking really, really smiley, maybe even more smiley than Michael Phelps, right? So, what is going on? Well, what metric and colleagues claimed is that each of these folks is experiencing a different reference point, when it's very, very salient to them at the time. If you're László, and you were like one second away from winning silver, what's your most salient reference point? You just get the silver medal. You're thinking. Well, it could have been like spike, one second away from the gold medal. I could've win a gold medal and I just messed up, right? That is your salient reference point. And the claim is that that's why he's looking pretty unhappy relative to Michael Phelps. If you're Ryan Lochte, however, and you're a bronze, what's your most salient reference point? You're almost like, "Dude, I almost didn't make it on here at all." Like honestly, to get any gold medal, this is pretty sweet. Like if I was fourth or fifth like a couple of half a seconds away, it would have been terrible. And so what Medvec and colleagues did, was they made this prediction, not just from this sort of image here. They actually went back and analyzed video footage of the Olympics that the year before I think it was. And they had readers just read independently how happy they thought everybody's faces were at the moment that they got their medal, the moment they knew their place and on the stand. And what they find is exactly this pattern where the white bars is kind of looking at how high happiness is. The white bars are the silver medals and the yellow bars are the bronze guys. And both, when you first find out and when you're on the stand, you're finding that the silver medal winners are actually way less happy than the bronze medal winners. Kind of reference points in action. Whatever your counterfactual is, it's affecting your happiness. It's not your absolute level or the absolute medal you got, it's what you think you could have gotten, right? So, that's all well and good for happiness move that, you know many of us, maybe some Yallies actually are Olympic medal winners in this room. But like most of us aren't going to get to that point, right? Most of us are not going to have reference points that are that salient like the gold medal in the 200 meter in the Olympics. Are our reference points messing us up in just the same way? And what I'm going to submit to you, is that all the stuff we talked about last time. Good job. How much money you got. The perfect body all those things. We think of, in terms of reference points. In terms of thinking about what counts as a good job, we saw last time that most of our evaluation of what a good job is, actually concerns having a high salary that's for better or for worse, everybody seems to care about. And what we've seen is that those are cases where we can look at our preferences, only relative to other reference points and other reference points severely seemed to mess this up. One of the first reference points we saw a little bit last time, we'll talk about in detail that seemed to mess this up, is our own reference point. It's what was happening to us in the past or what's happening to us right now. What we used to make in terms of our salary is a pretty salient reference point. We saw that in Ted before when you asked folks, how much salary do you need? What's the salary that you get your required income that would make you happy? And it just goes up depending on what you were making before. So, if you're making $30,000, and you're thinking about your next raise, you say, "Well, the required income I would need to be happy is 50K." Whereas if you're at a $100,000, and you're thinking about your required income you then say, "Aha, actually it's not like 50K. That's not. It's not like twice as good as I should have been. What I really need is 250 K." Now, you're kind of constantly bumping yourself up. And this, is this idea that our idea of a good income is not just done in absolute terms. It's done relative to some reference point. And the reference point is often what we use to make a little bit ago, or what we're making right now, that we kind of never get satisfied. And two economists did a nice analysis of this kind of what's the jumping point, and what they find is for every amount that your actual income goes up a dollar, your required income, the income you think you want, actually goes up a dollar and 40. And this happens every raise. Every raised point if I survey you, actually think you're not making enough, you want to make more. So, this is one of the first reference points that super messes us up, is our own current status is messing up what we think the good status is. We're constantly below the reference point we see. The more annoying reference point, and the one that I think messes us up even more in all these other different contexts, is not our own reference point where we are right now, or where we were before. It's the reference point of where other people are at. It's our social comparisons. And I'll put this kind of slightly cheesy cartoon up there, and you can't read it in the back. This is guy kind of negotiating for a salary raise and he says, "Okay. If you can't see your way to giving me a pay raise, how about giving Parkinson a pay cut?" And the idea is like this guy is going to be able to buy any more of Parkinson earns less than him. But that is a salient thing to us. We care a lot about where we stand relative to other people, even more than our own absolute level. This is what psychologists refer to as social comparison. As you might guess this is the act of evaluating yourself be it. Whatever it is, if it's salary, possessions, abilities, beauty, and grades, whatever relative to other people. Okay. Let's back up there. Good. And so is this really the case? Are we constantly comparing against other people? Well, it turns out that comparisons against other people are one of the number one things that affects whether or not we not only like our salary but also like our job. This is what Clark and Oswald looked at. They actually did a big survey of 5,000 British workers at various jobs and what they found was that a person's job satisfaction, how much they liked their job, actually went down as their comparative income went up. In other words, as your income is less than the other people in your firm, if you feel like you're making less, you like your job actually less. So as other people's income goes up, you like your job even less. And so the idea is if you're in a place where your co-workers have a higher salary than you, you're just necessarily less happy with your job. Controlling for absolute income, so controlling for how much you make, you're still just less happy not because somebody else makes more than you. Even though that doesn't affect how much earnings you take home, what kind of house you can buy, what kind of car you can buy. None of that's affected, but it still makes you unhappy. In fact, it makes you so unhappy, that humans do what they tend to do when they're unhappy which is do all these crazy spiteful things like maybe take less money to make other people get less money, too. And so this is what Solnick and Hemenway looked at. They actually did this survey among Harvard students at the Harvard School of Public Health. They asked, "Okay, imagine you were to pick a job with one of two situations. Which would you prefer? So option number one is that you can have a job where you earn $50,000, but everyone else in your firm at your same level is only earning $25K or you could be in a job where you are actually earning $100,000, but everyone else around you in your similar pay grade is actually earning $250,000 dollars?" You would think that most people would want double the potential income that they could spend like more cars, more all the stuff we think we want. But, in fact, when you actually look, over 50% of people choose the first one. Over 50% of people choose having half of the income so they won't be less than others, which is pretty crazy. This also explains some of the reasons why earning less than others causes so much hardship. So think of the case of unemployment rate, something you might want to bring up. What's the awful thing about being unemployed? You might think it's like not having a job, not having money, and so on, but it's probably maybe just earning less than others in a really extreme way. And to look at whether or not that was the case, Clark did this cool study and made a kind of funny prediction. He predicted, basically, that if you are unemployed in an area where not that many people are unemployed, that's going to impact you really badly. But if you're unemployed in a spot where lots of other people are unemployed, you're going to be fine, even if that means the overall job rate around you is like really, really bad. And so to test this, he looked at this measure of well-being, comparing people who were employed versus unemployed, so it's like how much worse are you than if you had a job, across different cities in the UK with different unemployment rates. And so here's what I'm going to plot. This is kind of how big the well-being gap is. So bigger numbers means you're like worse off when you're unemployed than when you're employed. And this is the unemployment rate of these different counties in the UK. And so bigger numbers means more unemployment. And here's what they find. They're just plotting all the different kind of ZIP codes throughout the UK, and what you're seeing is this negative relationship. So if you're unemployed in a spot where lots of other people are unemployed, it's actually not as bad for you even though it means that all the people around you are not having the income they might expect. We're so prone to social comparisons that even something like not having a job, depends on whether that is bad for us, it depends on whether or not other people around us don't have that, too. And so this gets even more extreme when we think about what counts as a reasonable social comparison. Maybe it makes sense that if you're unemployed, you treat others who are employed or in your ZIP code as being a reasonable social comparison. But are we only doing that or are we taking in these reference points that are kind of crazy? What's my reference point for what my salary should be as a Yale professor? I could look to Paul Bloom, who's my colleague, who also teaches Coursera courses. He's in the psychology department. He might be a good reference point. That might be okay for me to compare myself to, but it would be bad if I was comparing my salary against Beyoncé's because that's just crazy. I'm not going to be Beyoncé. I'm not going to make her money. I'm not going to be as beautiful as her. So we would assume that our minds, if they're going to use reference points, use reasonable ones. But it turns out that our minds don't do that. They seem to soak in anything around us as a reference point. And given that I'm watching Beyoncé videos, this could be messing me up. And so this is what O'Guinn and Schrum looked at. They wanted to see whether people who were exposed to crazier and crazier reference points, more unrealistic standards of salaries and incomes, actually got messed up. And here was their hypothesis. People who watched lots of TV are faced with people with crazy salaries, crazy incomes, crazy beauty levels, crazy stuff. Is that messing people up? In other words, just watching a lot of TV where you see things like the Real Housewives and Empire and all this stuff, does that make you less satisfied with your own salary? Does that mess up your intuitions about what normal salaries around you are? And what they found was that in fact, it does. So as you go up in your TV watchings, this is number of hours of TV watching, you also go up in your estimation of other people's average wealth. So this isn't just like average wealth that you see on TV. This is average wealth around you. In addition, what they found is that if you go up in numbers of hours a TV watching, you also go down in your estimate of your own wealth relative to others. So the more TV you watch, the more unhappy you are with your own income. Why? Presumably because you see these Real Housewives, right? You're watching like Kim Kardashian on her reality TV show and you're like, "My income is not nearly this good." And what do you do to solve it? You might just be unhappy. You might try to spend more to keep up with the Joneses. And that was what Schor looked at and did because the economists can do these kind of cool calculations. And what was reported is that for each hour of extra TV watching you do a week, you are spending on average $4 more each week in household spending. So for every hour of TV you watch, people are spending $4 more on stuff. Why? Presumably because we have these mechanisms to kind of keep up with the Joneses. We're trying to kind of keep up with the other folks who are near us, but we're not calculating who's really a good reference point to be in near. We're just kind of keeping up with whoever happens to be in our space, be it people we see on Facebook, people we see on TV, people we see. So we're not calculating the weirdness of how people got the stuff that they got. And another lovely example of this, one of my favorite kind of studies in this field, comes from Kuhn and colleagues, who looked at a strange case of Keeping Up with the Joneses, namely "Do you try to keep up with people in your neighborhood who have won the lottery?" And they looked at a particular lottery in the Netherlands where you win not only a bunch of money, but you also win a car. And so you have this prominent new car that's sitting in your garage. And the question is, "If you live close to somebody with that new awesome car in their garage, does that mess with you? Does that cause you to want to buy your own awesome new car even though you didn't win the lottery and you can't afford it?" And so here's what they find. So they're plotting how the percent of people that are buying new cars within that year, and they're looking at it whether you live next door to the person who won the lottery, whether you're two houses away, or whether you're a control, like you're in that district but you're not seeing this new car in the garage all the time. And so here's what happens before the lottery. Just to say people in these situations don't like buy cars differently, they kind of all buy cars at a particular rate. And here's what happens the year after the lottery. Basically, you're almost twice as likely to buy a new car yourself if you live next to the person who won the lottery than you are if you're just kind of in a control case. It's kind of like just seeing the new car in the other person's lot makes you want it so bad that you buy this car that you probably don't even need, at least, basically what the controls are doing. And so all this goes to say that all of these things we're seeing, kind of a good salary, money, how much awesome stuff you have, we don't think in terms of absolutes, we think in terms of reference points and it's a really insidious reference point. It's just like whoever we happen to be near, and whatever lives we happen to see, and if we're in a situation where we're seeing lives that are just like crazier than ours, because Kim Kardashian's life or Beyoncé's life, or so on, we're not tracking that. This happens also in the context that you guys face all the time like the context of good grades. Why are Yale students so unhappy about their grades? Because they happen to be at a place where lots of people are really smart and lots of people get really good grades. But that means that as other people's grades go up, maybe your unhappiness with your own grades are going down and that can also lead to these insidious, spiteful sorts of behaviors, vis-a-vis other people's grades. And one of my favorite examples of this comes from a cool study by Burleigh and Meegan, where they actually did an experiment in their own classes to see how spiteful students might be about other people's grades. And so I'm going to show you the email they sent out. I'll kind of read you the relevant part so you don't have to read it. But he says, "Look, you know, I like to give my students these bonus opportunities. You know, sometimes I make mistakes. And so here is the bonus opportunity I'm going to give. Basically, if you just check this answer at the bottom, anyone who does this, we're going to have a system where you're going to get.567% on your final grade." So your final grade point average is going to go up by a half a point, basically, which sounds awesome, which if you're on the tipping point, if you're like a 95.5, or, I guess, maybe say like a 90.5, maybe that will tip you into a better grade. So you could go from like a A minus to an A, right? So seems pretty sweet. All you had to do is check this off. But he goes on to say because it's 0.5, not everybody is going to get the benefit of this, right? So he says, "If you're at 69.0 and you go to 69.5, you know we round up, so that's going to be pretty sweet for you. Then you'll go from a 69 to a 70. Instead of getting a D plus, you're going to get a C minus. You're going to go up a lot. But, if you happen to be a 68.9 and I add the 0.5, then you're only at 69.4." Say like you wouldn't go up. So are you getting the math? It just depends where you happen to fall on that decimal if you go up a grade or not. And he says, "Look there is no way to know what part of the decimal you fall on. Probably half of you are going to be lucky and you're going to go up a whole letter grade and the other half of you are not. But there's no way to know. You just like have a 50% chance." And the question is do you approve? Does the class as a whole approve of this policy, right? And so just to point out, nobody is going to go down at all and everybody doesn't know they have a half chance of going up just because they're on the cusp. What they found is that not everybody preferred this plan. In fact, about 41% of students rejected the proposal to do this and said, "We don't want our class to be able to do this." Even though nobody goes down and everybody has a half chance of going up, a lot of people rejected it. And the neat thing is that the rejections were higher in the top 50% of the class. In fact, they were about 10% higher than across the board. What does this mean? This means that the students who were at the highest levels of the class, who had the most worries about social comparisons of people being bumped up, they were the ones that hated it the most. And the upshot is that students are all willing to miss out on their own grade bonus just to kind of screw over other people because of this social comparison. Some of you are kind of sad. Some of you are laughing, but I think you get that Yale students might do something similar. So good grades, social comparison, really bad. How about things like perfect body, perfect relationship, and so on? Well, this is a spot that super insidious if you've ever been like me at an airport or at a newsstand looking at all these things, because the world has media that features bodies and perceptions that don't match with what the average is, and at least in my case, they're usually a little bit hotter than me. I'm constantly faced with these social comparisons that are younger, better, all these things. And so the question is, does this really mess us up? Well, this is why Kenrick and colleagues looked at. They looked at specifically about messing up our happiness, and our mood, and so they did this in particular with women's mood on this 4-Point Scale, just rate your mood before and after you look at pictures of models in magazines on a 4-Point Scale. And what do you find is that before looking at models, you get about a 2.3 on a 4-point happiness scale. Afterwards, that drops down to about 2.0. But this is on a 4-point scale, all right? You're dropping like a third of a point on a pretty small scale. This is just like a few minutes of looking at these kinds of pictures makes you more unhappy. This is true of your own perceptions of yourself. But can this also mess up things like your perceptions of other people around you? Like if you're in a relationship, and you're looking at pictures of lots of other hot people who might happen to be hotter than your spouse, do that mess up your own absolute rating of your spouse? Kenrick, in a different paper, looked at this, too. And so, he had men rate their wives attractiveness after looking at centerfold models. You might think oh this is harming anything. I'm just looking at pictures of attractive people, and so on. But in fact, it harmed people's ratings pretty pretty badly. So, rating your partner in a control condition on this scale came about the rating of 26 when you do after looking at the model, it drops a bunch of points. So, these are small differences but showing you that social comparisons are kind of messing us up. And if you're tracking, It's messing of all the stuff we talked about. It makes you less satisfied with your job your amount of money, your car, your stuff, your relationship, and how attractive your partner is your body, and your grades. All these things other people's stuff makes you more unhappy. And so, the upshot of that is that, we face a particular set of reference points that are messing us up but you guys in this generation face a very special set of reference points. That have never been experienced in the history of the world. Because you guys don't just have TV, and magazines, and media, you have the reference points that you face through social media. Through things like Facebook and Snapchat, and all this stuff. And there's this question about whether or not these kinds of reference points are messing us up to move. Let's see if that comes back that. Here we go. And so, are these kinds of things also messing you up. And in fact, you might guess they really are. And they really are in a much stronger way than I expected. Before I start looking at this stuff. So, one study, Vogel and colleagues, actually looked at Facebook, and how much looking at your social comparisons on Facebook improve or messes up your own self-esteem. And so, they tested this correlation between Facebook use, and yourself rated self-esteem after you've looked at Facebook. And they also looked at the direction of your comparison. So, when you're on Facebook, and when you're on Snapchat, are you looking to see, are other people like having a really bad day? Are you trying to make down social comparisons looking at people who are worse than you? Or you on Snapchat like everybody else's Saturday night is way better than mine and kind of looking up and making these upward social comparisons, what happens? Well, what they found is that there's a pretty high correlation between Facebook youth and self-esteem. So, two things. Remember last time, we talked about size of correlation. And we saw that the correlation between income and happiness is at about point one. There is twice as big a correlation between Facebook use and self-esteem. But unlike the other correlation, this correlation is in the negative direction. What does that mean? It means the more Facebook use you have, the lower your self-esteem, and the magnitude of this effect. Again, soak that in, is twice as much as the magnitude of increased income on happiness, right? This is messing you guys up pretty badly. You could say, though, "Well, correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation. Maybe it's the low self-esteem people who are spending all this time on Facebook, right?" So, could we do an experimental intervention where we make people look at Facebook feeds just random people and see if that messes them up. And that's what they did. And a second study, they kind of expose people to this face fake Facebook feed. So, they can mess with it and say, "Are they all the awesome people? Or are they kind of losers people who don't have things going on?" And so, they did both they did the kind of people who are awesome, and people who were loser-ish and they measured your self-esteem. But they also did a neat thing where they took your ratings of yourself and the target they measured how you thought about yourself after you saw this, and how you thought about the other person. And so, here's what they find. First is that if you're making downward comparisons, you're looking at the losery people, you're self-rated self-esteem is about that which actually they didn't do a control sadly. So, can't say, did it go up or did it go down. But definitely, it's much lower than if you're doing this upward comparison. And remember, this self-esteem is like and I think when I said a 5-point scale. This is like a big jump that you're jumping down just by doing these upward comparisons. What about your ratings of yourself and other people? Well, here are plotting these big ratings. More things are like more also like you think the other person is extremely awesome all these good things. And so, here, are what the data show these white bars are yourself, when you're making upward and downward comparisons. You get a little bump when you're making dour comparisons but not very much. What you do though is get a big bump depending on what you're looking at with the target. So, when you're making upward social comparisons, you definitely think that target is better than you. But when you're making downward social comparisons the weird thing is you don't get that same bump for yourself. So, if you're looking at the loser people, you might think you kind of bump up your own perception of yourself. You don't. The only thing you get is a bad effect when you're looking upward. You think I'm such a loser like this is terrible and so on. Upshot is that all the data suggests that across social media, all these problems with reference points are kicking in, and they're kicking in in a major way, and in a way that's not giving you the benefit that you think it's actually just bad. So, if you right now are to structure your life and do one thing that you think would make you happy, it wouldn't be picking a job that earns you a $100,000. Because the magnitude of that effect is less than if you just decided to stay off social media because it's not actually helping you. And so, with that, we'll kind of conclude this section this annoying feature that our mind does anything in terms of absolute, it thinks relative to reference points. And our mind to just sucks at picking reference points. It just soaks in whatever reference point we get, and it doesn't actually have a great filter. And so, the more you can kind of force that filter on it, t
10Well, welcome everybody to The Science of Well-being: What psychological science says about the good life. I'm going to kind of give a quick introduction to the stuff about the course, and then we'll get to our particular topic of today. But, I kind of wanted to start because this is a bit of a strange adventure. I'm here sitting with about 25 of my students, most of these students are in Silliman College, one of the residential colleges here at Yale, but a couple of students who snuck in from other colleges. But we welcome you anyway. And I thought it's cool to welcome you by noting that you are starting this kind of interesting new journey. And I mean new in a couple of different senses. One is that this is kind of a new thing for Yale. Never before at Yale have they taught a course on that kind of science or psychology and so practice of how to be happy. So it's kind of new for Yale. It's sort of new for Yale's online courses. Unlike most of the online courses, we're sitting here in my living room, chatting with you guys in this kind of comfy space. It's kind of a new way to think about how we teach people who aren't at Yale. And it's also a new journey for all of you. The hope is that this isn't going to be like an ordinary kind of class or lecture series for you. This is the kind of thing that we really hope can actually change your life in a real way, not just by teaching you new content and new information but by really changing your habits. That's sort of the goal. So, welcome to this new journey. If you're scared of the journey, you don't want to be here, you can take off. They'll shut the cameras off and cut you out of it. So, either way you got that. All right. Okay. But the new journey is cool. The goal of the class is to do two separate things. One is the thing that's kind of typical of classes here at Yale, we're going to teach you some content, we're going to teach you about the science of happiness. All these cool new findings that the field of psychology has. But the second part which is a little bit different, which is the kind of journey part, is that we're not just going to do stuff on the science of happiness, we're going to think about the practice of happiness too. One of the things we're going to learn is just knowing about this information, about what makes you happy isn't enough to actually make you happy, you actually have to put those things into practice. And the hope is that by being here as part of this course, you're signing on to do that hard part too. You're not going to have homework in the way of readings or that kind of stuff, but you are going to have homework if you want the stuff to stick, you're just kind of thinking about your habits and that stuff too. And in part because of that, we're really hoping because I'm a scientist not just to kind of give you this content, but I really kind of want to see if this works. The goal is to scale this up to a really large course at Yale, you guys are the pilot program about this. And in part because of that, we really want to check whether or not this kind of approach of teaching you guys the science and sort of seeing if this practice goes together is actually going to work. And so, one of your pieces of homework for tonight, if you guys are interested in doing so, is to actually help me measure whether or not this stuff is working, and we're going to do that by actually measuring your happiness levels. We're going to take that sometime this afternoon - that's going to be the before, and then at the end of this we're going to do the after. Really, our goal is to make sure that what we're doing in this course is actually having its effect. We're going to try to look at that in detail. Okay. So, what is the course about? Well, you're signed on for five quick lectures here in my home, and we're going to go through a couple different topics. Today's topic is going to be about misconceptions about happiness. The things you think make you happy but don't actually. So, be ready for kind of all of your misconceptions to be cleared up, which would be great. Next time, we're going to talk about why our expectations are so bad. Basically, I think what you'll see is many of the things we think are going to make us happy don't. And so, why are we not accurate about the kinds of things that are going to make us happy? Why are we singling out these things that aren't going to help us? Third, we're going to jump to the stuff that actually really does increase happiness. And as is the case in a lot of Buzzfeed articles, the answer may surprise you. So weird. From there, we're going to broaden to say, okay, if that's the stuff that's going to increase happiness, what are the strategies that we should be using? That's where we're going to get into more homework and more habits for you guys to engage in. And then, the fifth thing is going to take this even broader, not just thinking about putting these strategies into practice for you yourself in terms of your own personal happiness, but how can you put these in practice more broadly? How can we use this stuff to help society, or help Silliman, or help things more broadly?
Welcome to the first module of this course. I invite you to join me as I share my personal experience, as well as some of the surprising research breakthroughs that have defined this visionary science of well being.
So that's the set of topics, and we're going to start with this idea of misconceptions. But I though since this is the first of these lectures, it might be useful to kind of give an introduction of why I wanted to do this class, because I think that sort of shows off the point of why I think this is so important. Like why teach this class now? Some of you know I teach a class here on campus, that's a class on evolutionary psychology, I think some of you even took that class. And I didn't need to start teaching a new psychology class, in fact it's a lot of work to come up with this stuff, still working on the lectures, it takes a lot of time. But I decided to do this for a couple of reasons, and I decided to do it now for a couple of reasons. The first, and there's going to be three reasons why I decided to do this. The first of those three reasons is that this is the time that is ripe for thinking about applying the science of psychology, in part because, we are learning a ton about how to apply like these kind of concepts about how we can make ourselves happier. We actually have lots of insights into the kinds of things that make us happier, that make us laugh, that make our life more fulfilling. And we know this, in part because, not only are scientists coming up with good ways to study this stuff, good ways to measure this stuff, but folks that really think about applying science to public policy, to practice, are using this stuff a ton. So these are a couple of different articles about different programs in government, both in the UK and here in the states to apply the science of psychology to kind of nudge people's behavior in the right directions, nudge people to save more, nudge people to eat healthier, and so on. And the amazing thing is that these programs, even when they're implemented in large government scales, actually seem to work amazingly well. There's tons of successes of applying this stuff to changing people's behavior in real time. So never before have we really had so many insights that I could actually teach you about and kind of time is right to start applying this stuff in our own lives. So that's kind of Reason #1, lots of insights there to teach you guys about. Second reason though is that we kind of really need these insights pretty badly, because the fact is that we're not as happy or as kind of increased in our well-being as we sort of need to be. I'll give you an article, this is from 2013 on ABC News, Americans Most Unhappy People In The World, right? And this is 2013, this is before our divisive election, this is a little bit before kind of the recession, we're just kind of unhappy. Couple of quick statistics, we prescribe antidepressants at 400 times the rate that we did 20 years ago, 400 times the rate than 20 years ago. Most surveys show that Americans and a lot of people in general are not getting happier. And if you look at some subsets of the population, surveys like the Harris Survey and so on, have shown that certain groups are actually getting more unhappy, and one of those groups is recent graduates, like a lot of you guys are about to be soon. Like getting more unhappy than they've ever been and more unhappy than they were before. So this is like not cool, like people kind of need this stuff. Like we're just this society, like kind of walk around, like not being as happy as we could be, so we kind of need this. But I think, one of the reasons I chose to teach this here, and then I'm talking to you guys and not only doing the online course, is the we, is a kind of broad we, it's like society at large, but I think the we here on campus, is like even more needy, that like you Yale students need this stuff. And so, that was reason number two, I decided to teach this course now is that you guys, you guys broadly as a society, and you guys as Yale students really need this stuff. But the third reason is actually the most personal one of why I wanted to teach this, which is that it's not just Yale students that need these insights, I actually need these insights too. So I'm kind of like below average on my own happiness. So you might have the thought that like the professor teaching this course is like this smiley, happy, and I go through life around all these Yale students who are sad, and I'm like "I'm going to make you guys as happy as I am." But in fact that is not true, if anything it's like I'm sad. [INAUDIBLE] >> [LAUGH]
This thought that I, because I know this stuff, should be good at it and that's all we need to do. You need to kind of read these studies, and then you're going to be golden. That actually is going to be one of the first fallacies that we talk about in the context of this course. And it's a fallacy that's kind of near and dear to my heart because I invented it with my colleague, Tamar Gendler, who's a philosopher here at Yale. But it's a fallacy known as the G.I. Joe Fallacy. And as you might guess, the G.I. Joe Fallacy is named after G.I. Joe, the cartoon. How many of guys saw G.I. Joe the cartoon as a kid? Heard of G.I. Joe the cartoon? Some people, you're missing out, it's a fantastic show from the 80s. Get your 80s culture and watch G.I. Joe cartoons. But the fallacy is named after G.I. Joe because G.I. Joe is this show about these like military guys, this action stuff, and it was like different things will happen every week. But at the end of the show, every week, because it was a show for kids, they would have this public service announcement. Look both ways when you cross the street, and don't talk to strangers, and all these kinds of things. And at the end of it, the kid in the public service announcement would say, "Thank you G. I. Joe. Now, I know." And then, G.I. Joe would say, their kind of canonical phrase, which is that "Knowing is half the battle." And so, this is the fallacy. It's this mistaken idea that knowing is half the battle. G.I. Joe used to think that when you learn look both ways when you cross the street, then you're kind of done. Now you know how to do it. And G.I. Joe even has this kind of awesome like graphic if you Google it on the Internet. But the claim is that this actually isn't true. Merely knowing something is not enough to put into practice. Merely knowing something is not enough to actually change your behavior. And that's the G. I. Joe Fallacy. And to get a sense of this, I wanted to kind of give you this little metaphor of a spot where you can see that knowing is not enough to really change how you actually think about it, and how you actually behave. And to do that, we're going to use a bit of a metaphor. Sometimes seeing our own thought patterns aren't as easy as we think. And we're going to use the metaphor of vision in part because we're used to seeing that our vision is off. We're used to seeing things like optical illusions and so on. Some of you may have seen this one before it's the Muller-Lyer illusion. How many have actually seen it before? And some folks, right? And so, for the folks who maybe haven't seen it before, which of these two lines, the top one or the bottom one looks longer? Or even if you know it, say which one to you looks like it's longer. The bottom one. Thank you. Well, if you've seen the image before, you know that in fact they're the same length. You know you could take it away. But this is the thing about knowing not being half the battle. You guys have learned about this in Intro Psych, or on the internet, and so on, but you can't teach your eyes not to see the bottom one as longer, even though you know what the problem is, your eyes are still seeing in the wrong way. Merely knowing it doesn't make it better. Here's an even more fun illusion I think, which is why maybe some of you haven't seen which is the these Shepard's Tables after the vision scientist, Roger Shepard. And here's the illusion, which of the two tables is kind of longer in depth, the one on the left, or the one on the right? Which of these two tables is kind of longer both ways? The one on the left? Other people think so too? All right. Here's where we do the awesomeness because I planned for this, is that we're going to measure it and see that your vision is wrong. You're ready? So, here is the one on the left. Put that there, it's like basically, Did I do it right? No, it's upside down. Hold on, we got this. Here we go, one on the left. And here we go, one on the right. This is where you're supposed to go, Whoa! Oh my goodness, right? And I actually invested in this construction paper. I did this whole demo. But now, you know this but you're going to look at it, and you're going to see it exactly the same way. It doesn't change how your mind perceives it. I can teach you how these illusions work. I could teach you the vision science behind it, which I'm not going to do. It's still not going to change how you see it. And this is the part of the G.I. Joe Fallacy. This idea that knowing is half the battle. It's not. We actually have to do all kinds of stuff other than just knowing stuff to change our behavior. If we really want to change our behavior, we have to change habits. We can't just learn the stuff. And that is why your professor is kind of just as mopey, and just as not good at this well-being stuff as you guys. The hope is that we, together, as a socially supported community, can put these habits into place. We can commit to them, and then we're all going to get better. Anyway, these are the three reasons why I wanted to teach this course, and why I want to teach this course now. Now, we'll get into the part about these kinds of misconceptions. Misconceptions in terms of what we think is going to make us happy, and also why it kind of doesn't. We'll focus more on why it doesn't in the next round.
In this activity, we're going to focus on savoring. First off, what is savoring? Well, it's just the simple act of stepping out of your experience, to review it, and really appreciate it while it's happening. Why should we take time to savor? Well, it turns out savoring can boost our mood in at least three ways. First, savoring can thwart hedonic adaptation. It can make us remember the good stuff in life. Second, savoring can help thwart mind wandering. It keeps us in the moment. And finally, savoring can help us increase gratitude. It can make us thankful for the experiences we're having as we're having them. How do we make the most of the savoring activity? Well, first off, you just have to take part in a positive experience, and then you have to savor during that experience. Take a second to realize why it makes you happy. You can use your phone to help you by taking a picture which will help you remember it later. Then track what you savored today. As we've seen, tracking can help turn savoring in one moment into a habit. So get out there and savor something good. Go out and really enjoy the best things in life.
In this activity, we're going to focus on gratitude. Why gratitude? Well as we saw in lecture, the simple act of experiencing gratitude has a host of positive benefits. Experiencing gratitude can increase your mood and lower your stress levels. It can even strengthen your immune system and lower your blood pressure. Experiencing gratitude also can make you feel a stronger social connection, which itself has this whole host of positive benefits. And so how do we make the most of this activity? Well if you're new to this habit, just start by writing things down that you're grateful for. You can also use the app to take a picture of the kinds of things you're thankful for. As you write and take your photos, really take a moment to try to experience the gratitude you're thinking about. And as usual, do it over time. Use the app to make it happen. So get out there and feel some things for all the wonderful things in your community and in your life.
And so, just to kind of have you guys brainstorm, some of the things that we think are going to make us happy. Some of the things that we think are going to make us have a successful life. What are some of the things that you think might matter? Like when you think about what are the kinds of things that you want to get out of this semester? What are some things that come to mind? Just kinda call them out, yeah. Good grades. Good grades. Number one thing that comes out that Yale students want this semester. How about after this? How about this summer? What are things that you want to get out of the summer? Internships. Internships. Any kind of internship? Do you want it to be volunteer? Do you want to be paid? Paid. And what do you want -- if you're going to have low pay, high pay, where would you go for? High pay. High pay. So jobs, high pay. As you think about your life when you get out of here five years from now, what are some things that you would like to see in it? You feel like this would make a successful life. Grad school. Grad school like getting these kind of getting into things that you want to get into, things that you plan on? Good friendships and relationships with family. Good friendships, relationships with family, having close connections with people. Other ideas? Although we'll get to that one because I bet a lot of you are applying for internships right now. But I bet very few of you are putting as much time as you're putting into your summer jobs into like making sure your friendships are going to be good next year. So, hold that one for a second. So jobs, good salary, getting into grad school, good grades, other stuff? How about like, do you see yourself as being in a relationship or married? People want that out of life. I think that's important. A lot of nods, okay. So, we get all these goals on the table and what we're going to do is we're going to teach you guys all those things. Most of the things you said aren't actually going to make you as happy as you think. So, this is the warning, is that you're about to learn that everything you just thought was important for being happy is not. And I'll again pause, in case anybody who wants to hold on to their false intuitions and leave here, so you keep working on your grades. Okay, good. Okay, so what are these kinds of goals that we think are going to make us happy that are false? Well, the first one is one that came up, which is that you think when you get out of here you want a good job. In fact, some of the seniors who are finding this like a lot, when I talk to seniors here are thinking, oh gosh, what's going to happen next year? I need to get a job and I need to get something that I care about, like is this really going to make us happy? And so there are all these jobs that I think Yalies think are going to be really important, right? Maybe the like tech thing or maybe, the consulting-y thing that you think makes lots of money. A lot of you, your seniors are nodding because you're like getting emails about this stuff and thinking about this stuff and you do this stuff because you think it's going to give you a good life and make you happy. Let see if that's actually true. First off, let's see if actually getting a good job is going to make you happy. Some of you when asked about the summer, said you wanted to get an internship this summer. How happy is it really going to make you to get the thing that you want as opposed to not getting it? Sadly, some of you, for better or for worse, are going to apply for these things and it may or may not actually work out, right? So, is this going to make you as unhappy as you think? Let's sort of simulate it. So, pick the thing you most want to do this summer. Let's say you apply, let's say you don't get it. How's it going to make you feel? Well, in fact, Dan Gilbert and his colleagues actually did this. They actually set up college students with a potential job, a paid job that most college students found was really cool and they really wanted to get. And then they were to find out that they actually didn't get the job. And they would predict how they were going to feel before and after this happened. And here's their little scale, this is the scale that they use. One, you're not very happy and then ten, being very happy. So, let's play along. First, your baseline. How happy are you right now on a scale of one to 10? Can you just yell out some numbers? More numbers, come on. Six. Seven, sixes. Right. So now, you get the call. I'm sorry you actually didn't get the job. Now, how happy are you? What's your numbers? Five. Fours, five, three, right, you guys really wanted this job, it's great. So, this is what these students had to do, predict and then they actually find out and how does it work, right? And so, here is what Gilbert and colleagues actually found. So, what if you found out that, they looked at your qualifications and everything was fair and you just didn't get the job. Like you just didn't have the qualification to get the job. What's your predicted drop in happiness? And so, they're doing drops in happiness because as you saw people are starting with different numbers. Some were eight, some were six, whatever. We really want to see is what's the drop? And what they find is that in that skill, people are predicting that their drop in happiness is going to be about two points. What's the actual drop in happiness? Way less than a single point like, so it's a drop, but it's not as much of a drop as you think. The more interesting thing comes when people thought that the decision wasn't fair, but was unfair. Imagine you get to think there was just something that happened in the interview. I said something dumb. They're not really looking at my qualification. Basically, all the kinds of rationalizations you would normally do if you didn't get a job. What if it was a case like that? How would you feel? Well, the prediction is that you're still going to drop in happiness just about as much as it's still going to be about a two point drop. But in practice, if you actually look, the actual drop is nothing. As soon as you could justify it like they don't know what they're talking about. They're missing the best candidate they ever had in their life, whatever. As soon as you can do that, you get no drop in happiness. All your predictions about how you're going to feel when you don't get a job just not true in practice, right? So, that's getting any job, but as you guys talked about what you want is a good job, you don't want the like internship where you don't make much money. You want the jobs with a lot of salary. That's why so many students apply for these consulting, investment, banking gigs. They make a ton of money. And you can see that not just from Yale students, but a recent survey by LinkedIn talked to recent grads and said, what do you want in a new job? And here are the data they put forward, basically, the highest thing up here is this thing right here, compensation. People want a big, high salary. They want to feel like they're getting paid a lot. And the question is, okay, that's great, you want a high salary. But what is a high salary? What counts as enough? And here's where we get to see that what we think counts as enough is kind of one of these visual illusions. It's another kind of misconception. So, Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her wonderful book, The How of Happiness, we'll see this book coming up a few more times, actually reported data about how much people really think is the salary they need and they looked depending on the salary you actually have. So, imagine you're a person who gets out of here and you're earning about $30,000 and I ask you, what's the salary you think you need to be really happy to have all your needs met, to feel like that's a job with a good salary. And those folks at 30,000 will say in US dollars, what they really need is about 50k, great. So, let's say we ask people who are earning $100,000, what they really want? Clearly, they're probably going to be fine, right? The probably like, I probably just use 50k, but you know it's kind of nice to get the extra cash. They're going to be fine, right? But no, in fact, they too are like nope, I'm not making enough. I should be making about $250,000. That's that salary I really need to feel comfortable, right? The point is that it's not just some objective number that we think. What we think we need actually jumps up every time we get more. And so, this seems to be a problem for kind of finding a good job that's going to give us a good salary.
Because it seems when we're talking about getting a good job, one of the goals we're going for isn't really the good job, is getting lots of money. It's havi