This Is the Equation for Happiness

Now that we have a reasonably good equation to predict whether we would be happy or not would it be easy for us to stay happy, given the amount of things lying around for consumption coupled to social expectations and pressures of living?

TIME

Researchers at University College London were able to create an equation that could accurately predict the happiness of over 18,000 people, according to a new study.

First, the researchers had 26 participants complete decisionmaking tasks in which their choices either led to monetary gains or losses. The researchers used fMRI imaging to measure their brain activity, and asked them repeatedly, “How happy are you now?” Based on the data the researchers gathered from the first experiment, they created a model that linked self-reported happiness to recent rewards and expectations.

Here’s what the equation looks like:

Robb Rutledge, UCL

Then, in their study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers tested their model by having 18,420 people play a smartphone game called The Great Brain Experiment for points. They found that their equation was also accurate at predicting the gamers’ happiness.

The researchers were not…

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