Science of happiness and the law
This mass participation project aimed to have a large number of people spending a few days carrying out an exercise designed to boost their happiness. Because emotions are contagious it was hoped that their increased happiness would pass to those around them and help cheer up the world! The project took place between Monday 3rd - Friday 7th August 2009, and was conducted by psychologist Richard Wiseman (University of Hertfordshire and author of 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot).
What happened? Over 26,000 people signed up for the project. We will submit a full report describing the project to a scientific journal soon, but here are some initial results. In one part of the study participants were randomly assigned to one of five groups. People in each group watched a video describing one of four techniques commonly used to boost happiness – expressing gratitude, smiling, recalling a pleasant event from the day before and carrying out an act of kindness. Those in the fifth 'control' group were simply asked to think about what had happened the day before. This latter group was very important, because it helped assess th