Study suggests we'd rather work more than be happy
Apparently many Americans are obsessed with accumulating wealth, even if it's more than they can spend.
This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.
Ever heard the phrase "work hard, play hard"? Sounds good, but what happens when you work so hard that you have time for nothing else.
Americans seem to be wired that way -- choosing to work more even when they don't have to -- prompting a group of researchers to do a study. Says their abstract in Psychological Science: "(W)e found that individuals do overearn, even at the cost of happiness, and that overearning is a result of mindless accumulation -- a tendency to work and earn until feeling tired rather than until having enough."
The research "shows a deeply rooted instinct to earn more than can possibly be consumed, even when this imbalance makes us unhappy," says The New York Times.
Simply put, the research went like this: The subjects were given a choice of listening to pleasant music or white noise. They were told they could earn a certain number of chocolates by listening to the noise. Some were "high earners," having to listen to less noise to earn a chocolate, the Times says.
They were also told they'd have a certain amount of time to eat the chocolates after the test and were asked to estimate how much they could eat in that time. The high earners on average said they'd have time to eat 3.75 chocolates, but they listened to enough noise to earn 10.74.
"In other words, they subjected themselves to harsh noise to earn more than they could consume, or predicted they could consume," the Times says.
The same tendency was found among the "low earners." It was clear "that both groups were driven by the same thing: not by how much they need, but by how much work they could withstand," the Times said.
Is it a hopeless situation? The abstract also says the study found that "prompting individuals to consider the consequences of their earnings or denying them excessive earnings can disrupt mindless accumulation and enhance happiness."
Do you think Americans are like that? Are you?
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What a bunch of crap! There is no incentive to be happy in the US.
Working is not a choice.
People "overearn" not out of want, but out of necessity.
I can't believe people were actually paid to conduct this crappy experiment. Furthermore I'm disappointed my MSN chose to give this story any merit.
"The research "shows a deeply rooted instinct ...". Utter nonsense! People have instincts, Americans don't have distinct instincts. We are conditioned this way.
Would south sea islanders have the same "instincts"? Would the French? The Spanish? Anybody with any common sense? We are taught this destructive habit. (Just as we are taught that guns are the answer to our problems, and giving more money to people who already have more money than anybody needs is a good idea.)
To get more money.
Why do you want more money?
Because that would make me happy.
Everything we do is to make us happy.
I rather work hard and get a decent wage for an honest day's work. Sure I would love to be a millionaire but I really rather just be comfortable and finically secure. I don't need the moon. I just don't want to live paycheck to paycheck and would like to be able to "do things" once in awhile and not have to always hold back because of cost or uncertainty in the future. We all want to be happy but in the current climate of the screw you Middle and working class approach of Washington (dems and repubs) and similar tone from Wall St. what do you expect? We have no choice but to go without and work all we can. Stop the greed and see that concentrating bulk of wealth at the top .01% is not a good thing and you will see the economy and the country improve, as well as improving those that own the businesses and sit at the top. It can be win win if we want it to be.
I think its time
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