There are Free Lunches Statement of Intentions

There are Free Lunches: Behavioral Clues to Live Happy in the Economic World is a blog that intends to present updated and relevant information about the "hidden" and only recently uncovered dimensions of the economic science: the behavioral factors. With this blog we intend to promote in Europe and in the rest of the World, the top research articles and perspectives on behavioral economics, decision making, consumer behavior, and general behavioral science. We aim to be followed by journalists, academics, managers, civil servants, and everyone who wishes to improve their daily interaction with the economic world and consequently, their lives' happiness.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

CO2 #3 Happiness Is About More Than Just Pleasure (via PsychologyToday)

George Mallory, an early 20th century mountain climber, was once asked why he climbs mountains. His famous answer was “Because it’s there.” His answer may have been snide, but it reflects an important fact: even mountain climbers don’t know why they do what they do. This is the point of one of my favorite papers, George Loewenstein’s “Because it is there: The challenge of mountaineering for utility theory.”
The title says it all. Utility theory is the standard economic theory, which is that people do things because they get some pleasure out of them. Pretty obvious, right? Not really.
Loewenstein, an economist and psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University, reports the surprising results that mountain climbers generally hate mountain climbing. They won't say that if you ask them directly. But they hate each step of the way. The preparations are monotonous, the fundraising is necessarily but insipid, getting to the mountain is not half the fun but instead boring and for many mountains frustrating, and the climb itself is the grueling. Some people love to bask in the glory of success. But most of the people who are successful mountain climbers do not seem to be publicity hounds, and are often shy and publicity averse.
Check this recent review about an old, but increasingly time relevant study: HappinessPleasure

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