A new look at happiness – from TED

A new look at happiness – from TED

What’s the difference between remembering happiness and actually being happy? That’s what Daniel Kahneman, Senior Scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Nobel Prize winner, wants to know. Wednesday, at the TED conference of innovative ideas in Long Beach, California, Kahneman discussed the distinction between “experience happiness” and “memory happiness” and tried to piece together what it means for our lives.

According to Mark Frauenfelder’s report from the talk on Boing Boing, “Happiness is complex and confusing.” But how could that be? Isn’t the simplicity of the emotion part of what makes it so appealing? Well, it’s how we actually experience that “simple” emotion that is really intricate.

“What we keep from our experiences is a story,” said Kahneman in his TED talk. We construct that story based on our subjective memory of the event, not on any objective truth about the event itself.

An excellent example, said Kahneman, is that of two patients who each reported the amount of their pain every minute throughout a colonoscopy. One of the patients reported intense pain for ten minutes, while the other also had intense pain for ten minutes and then incrementally lessening pain for the next ten. They were both later asked to remember the pain they had felt. The first patient remembered being in more pain than the second, even though he had actually experienced less pain overall. It was what happened at the end of the experience that mattered most.

How does this impact our everyday lives? Read more about happiness from this article – here