Money And Happiness: The $200 Link
This article by Regina Barreca, Ph.D raises two very interesting points about money and happiness. She questions how much money matters to a person that it would affect their happiness level, and what truly defines a person as happy.
The first point Dr. Barreca addresses is the amount of money required to change a person's mood and make them happy. She first cites a Princeton research study that claims money only affects happiness up to 75,000 dollars per year in salary. After that amount, money has no correlation to happiness. This addresses the upper limit of the question, but Dr. Barreca goes deeper and attempts to address the bottom end of the question. What is the smallest amount of money that would make a person happy? She describes a hypothetical experiment, where a researcher goes up to random people in the street and gives them $200 in exchange for a description of their happiness level after receiving the money. However, she from here goes on to say that money, most of the time "makes life easier. But an 'easier' situation isn't always equal to a 'happier' situation.
From here on Dr. Barreca debates the differences between an easier situation and a happier one. She discusses the complexities society tends to have when asked if they are happy or not, and how defensive some can be when asked this question. Finally she concludes that even if happiness and easiness do not always go hand-in-hand, refusing one or the other because the two are not included together is simply foolish. For example, if one of the people were to refuse the $200 because they claim it would not make them happy, Dr. Barreca thinks this would be foolish because an easier situation can always lead to happiness at some point, even if not initially.
My view of this article is incredibly favorable. Dr. Barreca does a great job of addressing the differences between happiness and money and the ease that money can create to a situation, but not always create happiness. I completely agree with her that even if something does not bring you happiness, but makes something easier, that thing should always be taken advantage of, and the same vice-versa. Much of today's society is focused on the here-and-now lifestyle, while not paying much attention to the long-term consequences. Most of the time, easy situations will make a person happy at some point or another, so these opportunities need to be relished. This applies to money as well.
Five years from now, after I'm hopefully well equilibrated financially and enjoyably stimulated by my career, I will likely still benefit from lessons learned in PSY 1001. In particular, remembering the upsetting results of the Milgrim study may help me to be a better leader and moral individual. The striking results of the Milgrim study, which reported that 50% of its participants while under the instruction of a single researcher administered potentially dangerous voltages of electric shock to confederate participants, revealed man's tendency for unquestioning compliance to authority. These findings are quite disturbing and unsettling to me because, when honest with myself, I admit that I am compliant to authority. I feel I would be susceptible to control by an authority figure, and I would likely push myself passed my moral boundaries by the instruction of a higher rank. Acknowledging my susceptibility to this form of control is the first step to avoiding its affliction. Consciously defining my moral boundaries and determining when or if I should ever overstep these boundaries may also help safeguard me from authority influence. Also, the lessons in our textbook describing the roots for bystander non-intervention help by dismissing pluralistic ignorance and the diffusion of responsibility. Remembering that others may feel the same way and that I am partially, if not equally responsible, for the outcome produced by a group in which I participate, may help my avoid authority influences that might otherwise have caused me to act in a manner against my moral nature.
After learning the topics of social psychology, I have a clearer understanding about our behaviors in daily lives. I think this is more like an anatomy lesson but for the behaviors. What I have learned doesn't change my understanding of myself or to the world. They just help me to look through the reason of why am I doing that.
Conformity is one of the most memorable ones for me. For example, if it is the time for psychology discussion and the classroom is empty. I might wait for a while. As time flies, I might leave if I am still the only one in the classroom. However, if there is someone else waiting in the room, I might wait for a little bit longer. Before learning social psychology, I will just do them without having any thoughts. But now, I know that it is because of conformity. People are tend to conform themselves under group pressure. That is how this concept of psychology shaped my mind.
I think I will remember conformity in five year or even more because we are not living alone. Everyone has the unbreakable bonds with the outside world. Therefore, every move we make will have something to do with the social environment. On the one side, conformity will always reminds me of being one of the social groups. But on the other side, it reminds me that I cannot be like someone else or I will just be normal. If I want to be unusual, I need to have my own personalities. I have to avoid conforming for something even I have to stay under the group pressure.
It is humbling to see how many variations that the human brain is capable of creating through just these two things. This forces the realization that it will be impossible to see eye to eye with some people. They have different predispositions based on genetics and then have learned information potentially completely contrary to what I have at several to many points in time. This is why some people can have similar ideals, and others polar opposites of them.
Five years from now, I know that I won't remember most of the classes I've taken or even most of the things I've learned in these classes. What I will remember are the things that really affected the way I think about life now. Based on all the lectures and discussions we've had in the past 9 weeks of taking this introductory psychology course, I feel that what really stuck with me is what we learned in this past discussion on social psychology.
As we were sitting in class watching the Milgrim experiment that occurred in the present day, I could not help but put myself in the shoes of the "teacher" in this situation. All I could think about was how hard it must have been to deal with causing someone pain such as that demonstrated in the experiment.
On a lighter note, watching the videos of the elevator scene, I could not help but relate myself to the situation. I know that if I were the one in the elevator, I would most likely follow suit with the guy in the hat. I feel that the reason this lesson will stick with me most is because it is so relate-able to so many people. Nobody likes to feel excluded, but to learn that exclusion or not fitting in affects the same part of the brain as the part that causes physical pain is fascinating to me. Though I do not personally feel physical pain in these situations, I do feel uncomfortable.
Think about the last time you have witnessed a seemingly pointless argument; one where the points being argued were so asinine, or the topic so pointless. Now think of such an argument where you were the one who was so hopelessly wrong. Slightly harder to do? This is a common phenomenon, called the argumentative theory of reasoning, where it is harder to find fault with your own views that it is with others'. Psychologist Hugo Mercier from the University of Pennsylvania claims "It [arguing] was a purely social phenomenon. It evolved to help us convince others and to be careful when others try to convince us. Truth and accuracy were beside the point."
phenomenon is part of the reason that it is so hard for everyone to
admit they are wrong. It is also due in part to this phenomenon that
many biases in thinking exist. So if evolution had sculpted our
brains with a consistent need to win, regardless of truth, how can we
continue to seek and obtain knowledge? It certainly won't be easy, as
in the days of our ancestors being wrong meant you were bred out of
the gene pool. Being aware of the biases that surround our judgment
may well be the first step to working around them. And until we lose
this pathological need to win, good experimental design will have to
tide us over. This is what psychology has taught me.
When I consider where I will be in 5 years, I think Developmental Psychology will have the most lasting impact. I hope to be a practicing RN by then, and there are many areas of nursing that require an understanding of children and the ways in which they grow. Perhaps I will even work in pediatrics and work with children daily.
I was especially astounded by Dr. Melissa Koenig's presentation of the
concept of object permanence. As a young parent, I spent hours gazing at my infants, wondering what could be happening in the tiny mind behind those eyes. According to many pseudo-
scientists' books claiming "this is how to be the best parent and this is what babies do at various stages," infants don't have nearly the brain capacity that Dr. Koenig and our textbook asserted, which is tremendously comforting to a mother. I now know that my children knew whether or not I was in their presence (or any other particular object, for that matter), they preferred my voice over anyone else's when they were born, and that they were much more aware of their surroundings than I previously thought.
When I encounter children in my nursing career, I hope to appropriately assess their
intellectual capabilities so that I can care for them in the best manner. Understanding the ways in which children think (such as was shown in Piaget's four operational stages), perhaps I can better relate to them during their times of need.
Is it nature? Or is it nurture? These are two questions that have been burning in people's minds over the past how many years. Many people out there believe that it's all nature (our genes) that explain our behaviors while many people believe that it's all nurture (our environment) that explain our behavior. You also have the in between who believe that both play a role. The Nature vs. Nurture debate is one concept that I will remember from Psychology 1001 five years from now as I took great interest in the topic over the course of the semester. I often think about this debate when I am around my two little nephews. They are two of the most energetic, entertaining children I have ever seen, and I often think to myself: Is it their genes that allow them to act this way or is it the environment they are being raised in that affects their behavior? I personally think that both play a role in their actions. In the future, when I have kids of my own I will probably think of the same questions and I will be able to remember where I learned of the debate. I am glad that I learned about Nature vs. Nurture, because it's one of those topics that you can never really have an answer to. This is what will make it so easy for me to remember five years from now because of its ongoing discussion.
While there are many good concepts that caught my attention in Psychology 1001 the one that I will most likely remember is false memories and the concepts that come with it. This is largely because the idea that I may be tricked into believing something that never really happened, even by myself, bothers me in many ways. While I hope to never be in a scenario where suggestive memory techniques are used against me in some form, this isn't exactly what I'm afraid of as I know the chances of this happening are slim.
What I do see in daily life is a lot of source monitoring confusion and cryptomnesia. While this may not be the easiest thing to prevent, save for possibly adapting better encoding techniques, it should make people less certain of concepts that they remember but cannot place origins to, and make people boast less about accomplishments that they can't even recall being their own (I think we've all claimed to have done something that we cannot recall doing).
The misinformation affect is also interesting because of the ways it can be manipulated. When trying to recall past events I often throw out "maybe" events that I recall without knowing why, and these could be completely fabricated events. As such it is a factor that must be taken into account in crime, as details can easily be added or subtracted from our memories without our knowledge of the manipulation. The benefits of writing down things either on lists or in journals are evident because of false memories.