Caring about others faciliates our happiness: this is a way we can summarize a working paper published on http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/11-038.pdf by researchers Lara B. Aknin, Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh, Elizabeth W. Dunn, John F. Helliwell, Robert Biswas-Diener, Imelda Kemeza, Paul Nyende, Claire Ashton-James, Michael I. Norton

From the abstract: this research provides the first support for a possible psychological universal: human beings around the world derive emotional benefits from using their financial resources to help others (prosocial spending). Analyzing survey data from 136 countries, we show that prosocial spending is consistently associated with greater happiness. To test for causality, we conduct experiments within two very different countries (Canada and Uganda) and show that spending money on others has a consistent, causal impact on happiness. In contrast to traditional economic thought—which places self-interest as the guiding principle of human motivation—our findings suggest that the reward experienced from helping others may be deeply ingrained in human nature, emerging in diverse cultural and economic contexts.

These kind of researchers are very beneficial in terms of being more aware. What about a research concerning how dedicating time to people facilitates our happiness as well?

This is a selection of Elizabeth W. Dunn‘s research about subjective well-being:

Quoidbach, J., Dunn, E.W., Petrides, K. V., & Mikolajczak, M. (in press). Money giveth, money taketh away: The dual effect of wealth on happiness. Psychological Science. ( doc )

Dunn, E.W., Ashton-James, C., Hanson, M. D., & Aknin, L.B. (in press). On the costs of self-interested economic behavior: How does stinginess get under the skin? Journal of Health Psychology. ( pdf )

Huntsinger, J., Sinclair, S., Dunn, E. W., & Clore, G. (in press). Affective regulation of automatic stereotype activation: It’s the (accessible) thought that counts. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. ( pdf )

Anik, L., Aknin, L. B., Norton, M. I. & Dunn, E. W. (in press). Feeling good about giving: The benefits (and costs) of self-interested charitable behavior. In D.M. Oppenheimer & C.Y. Olivola (Eds.), Experimental approaches to the study of charitable giving. ( pdf )

Aknin, L., Norton, M. I., & Dunn, E. W. (2009). From wealth to well-being? Money matters, but less than people think. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 523-527. ( pdf )

Kawakami, K., Dunn, E. W., Karmali, F., & Dovidio, J. F. (2009). Mispredicting affective and behavioral responses to racism. Science, 323, 276-278. ( pdf )

Dunn, E. W., Huntsinger, J., Lun, J., Sinclair, S. (2008). The gift of similarity: How good and bad gifts influence relationships. Social Cognition, 26, 469-481. ( pdf )

Dunn, E.W., Aknin, L.B., & Norton, M.I. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319, 1687-1688. (Datasets: Correlational Study, Longitudinal Study, Experimental Study, Predictions Study) ( pdf ) ( letter )

Dunn, E. W., *Forrin, N. D., & Ashton-James, C. E. (2008). On the excessive rationality of the emotional imagination: A two systems account of affective forecasts and experiences. In K. D. Markman, W. M. P. Klein, & J. A. Suhr (Eds.) The handbook of imagination and mental simulation. New York: Psychology Press. ( pdf )

Dunn. E. W., & Ashton-James, C. (2008). On emotional innumeracy: Predicted and actual affective responses to grand-scale tragedies. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 692-698. ( pdf )

Dunn, E. W., Brackett, M.A., Ashton-James, C., Schneiderman, E., & Salovey, P. (2007). On emotionally intelligent time travel: Individual differences in affective forecasting ability. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 85-93. ( pdf )

Dunn, E. W., & Laham, S. A. (2006). A user’s guide to emotional time travel: Progress on key issues in affective forecasting. To appear in J. Forgas (Ed.), Hearts and minds: Affective influences on social cognition and behavior. (Frontiers of Social Psychology Series). Psychology Press: New York. ( pdf )

Wilson, T. D., & Dunn, E. W. (2004). Self-Knowledge: Its limits, value, and potential for improvement. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 493-518. ( pdf )

Wilson, T. D., Wheatley, T. Kurtz, J., Dunn, E. W., & Gilbert, D. T. (2004). When to fire: Anticipatory versus post-event reconstrual of uncontrollable events. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 30, 340-351. ( pdf )

This is a selection of media articles about Elizabeth W. Dunn:

Globe and Mail. January 15, 2010. “Got a complaint? Sing it out.” ( Read )

The Globe and Mail. October 22, 2009. “Flirt away, it’s all in the name of healthy jealousy.” ( Read )

National Public Radio. March, 2009. “Money and Happiness.” ( Listen )

CBC. January 8, 2009. “Racism not as strong as we think, study says.” ( Read )

The New York Times. December 25, 2008. “Your friends need money. Do they have references?” ( Read )( Read )

The Wall Street Journal. November 7, 2008. “Do wealth and well-being go hand in hand?.” ( Read )

Maclean’s. May 5, 2008. “It’s official: Money buys happiness.” ( Read )

The New York Times. March 20, 2008. “Yes, money can buy happiness…” ( Read )

Forbes. March 20, 2008. “How to buy happiness.” ( Read )

The Georgia Straight. May 24, 2007. “Getting off your booty never felt so good.” ( pdf )

Global News . May 18, 2007. “Putting Your Best Face Forward .” ( Watch )

The Province. May 17, 2007. “Some enchanted evening, you may meet as strangers…”  ( Read )

Weather Network. June 2006. “Resolutions and Weather.” ( Watch )

CityNews. March 2006. “Affective Responses to Shark Attacks: A Case Study” 😉 ( Watch )

ArtsBeat. Fall 2005. “What makes you feel good?” ( Read )

Chronicle of Higher Education. September 3, 2004. “Rising Stars: How to be happy.” ( Read )

Arts & Sciences. July 2004. “The grad life”. ( Read )

A&S Online. May 2004. “Best foot forward.” ( Read )

Tue, Jul 6, 6:30-8:30pm; FREE.
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC

In this engaging and interactive panel discussion, join UBC researchers investigating the science behind happiness and what it means to live an abundant life. Find out how positive human emotions can translate into a more fulfilling life. Reception is at 6:30pm. Panel discussion begins at 7pm.

ELIZABETH W. DUNN, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Dunn’s research interests are happiness, self-knowledge, affective forecasting and implicit social cognititon.

LARA AKNIN, PhD Canadidate, graduated from the University of British Columbia with an Honours degree in Psychology in 2005. After taking a year off, she came back for more and started her Master’s degree in 2006. Lara received her MA in 2008 and is now working towards her Ph.D in Social Psychology. Lara is primarily interested in happiness and well-being, with her most recent work examining the relationship between wealth and well-being.