YANSS 188 – Why we are so terrible at figuring out what it takes to makes us happy

 
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In this episode we welcome Yale psychologist Laurie Santos who discusses her new podcast — The Happiness Lab — which explores how wrong and misguided we can be when we pursue those things that we think will make us happy (or avoid those things that we think will make us sad).

Based on the psychology course she teaches at Yale — “Psychology and the Good Life,” the most popular class in the university’s 300-year history — The Happiness Lab is a scientific tour of the latest research into what does and does not make us happy, and sad, and miserable, and content, and depressed, and joyous, and fulfilled.

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You will learn that the pursuit of happiness, like a lot of what we talk about You Are Not So Smart, is scrambled up by same misplaced confidence that gets us into trouble in other domains: We don’t know what would make us happy, but we also don’t know that we don’t know that, which would be a manageable problem except for the fact that we also believe that we do know what would make us happy. So, when we poll people and get their opinions on how to create a policy or how to design…anything, people will say what they think they want, and when we make those things, it makes everyone sad.

In the episode, we discuss why ATMs make us lonely, why you should talk to strangers on the subway, and how winning the lottery would be the worst thing that could ever happen to you, and so much more.

Links and Sources
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The Happiness Lab

Laurie Santos on Twitter

Laurie Santos at Yale

The Comparative Cognition Laboratory

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