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Wealthy only imagine happiness, study says

By Catherine Larkin
Bloomberg News (来源:英语论坛 http://bbs.englishcn.com)


      What your mother told you was true: Money doesn"t buy happiness.
      An analysis of new and existing surveys, published in today"s edition of the journal Science, concludes people with money aren"t happier than anyone else, they just think they are.
      Previous polls have shown that the average measure of happiness in many countries hasn"t changed much in the past 40 years, even as real personal income has risen. Many U.S. workers are willing to accept lengthy commutes or longer hours on the job for higher pay, researchers said.
      "People focus just on the one thing that they"re changing and they forget that the vast majority of their lives don"t change much," study author Arthur Stone, vice chairman of the psychiatry department at New York"s Stony Brook University, said Wednesday in a phone interview.
      The analysis found studies often exaggerate the perceived benefits of wealth. Short-term mood is only weakly linked to income when people are asked about their current emotions or how they felt yesterday, according to the analysis.
      Standard surveys create a "focusing illusion" by asking about income as a single variable in happiness, drawing people"s attention to their possessions and relative financial standing, Stone said. In reality, people evaluate happiness in their daily lives by social interactions and non-material goods.
      Americans with higher incomes report that they have more stress than people with less money and that they devote more time to work and errands and less time to relaxing activities such as watching TV, the study said.
      "The more knowledge we have about what affects our day-to- day happiness could help us make better decisions," Stone said.
      Income gains may also fail to boost happiness if expensive possessions lose their novelty over time or if a person"s rank in society doesn"t change because everyone is getting richer, Stone said.

 
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