Happiness is what you notice (and what you fail to notice)

Happiness is what you notice (and what you fail to notice)

We like to think that we are in charge of our choices. Even the positive psychology happiness pizza (apologies to Sonja Lyubomirsky) shows us that 40% of the variance in happiness among people is the result of personal choice. But what if making a choice or decision is based on things that we don_ã_t notice? A new article from Song and Schwarz at the University of Michigan looks at the consequences.

Choice and Processing

Sometimes we are faced with a task that will require one or more choices. Song and Schwarz have shown that what we choose depends on what we process about the situation. This may seem obvious, but research that looked at judgment, choice, and processing style produced some results that will encourage you to think_ã”and notice_ã”before you act.

Fluency: Processing Ease

There are many variables that facilitate or impair our information processing and hence our decisions, no matter the type of choice. Fluency, or how easily and automatically we process information, affects emotions as well as cognition. When faced with tasks of varying degrees of challenge, we are sensitive to our own feelings of ease or difficulty, but we are not usually aware of what drives these feelings or how they affect our choices.

Want to read more from Positive Psychology News Daily about attention and how it relates to happiness? Just click here