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Normal controls show — that was the magic I showed you; now I'm showing it to you in graphical form — "The one I own is better than I thought. The one I didn't own, the one I left behind, is not as good as I thought. Think about this result. These people like better the one they own, but they don't know they own it.
What these people did when they synthesized happiness is they really, truly changed their affective, hedonic, aesthetic reactions to that poster. They're not just saying it because they own it, because they don't know they own it. When psychologists show you bars, you know that they are showing you averages of lots of people. And yet, all of us have this psychological immune system, this capacity to synthesize happiness, but some of us do this trick better than others.
And some situations allow anybody to do it more effectively than other situations do. It turns out that freedom, the ability to make up your mind and change your mind, is the friend of natural happiness, because it allows you to choose among all those delicious futures and find the one that you would most enjoy.
But freedom to choose, to change and make up your mind, is the enemy of synthetic happiness. And I'm going to show you why. Dilbert already knows, of course. How may I abuse you? Aren't you just giving me my own paper? Only a fool or a liar would say that they look the same! The psychological immune system works best when we are totally stuck, when we are trapped.
This is the difference between dating and marriage. You go out on a date with a guy, and he picks his nose; you don't go out on another date. You're married to a guy and he picks his nose? He has a heart of gold. Don't touch the fruitcake! You find a way to be happy with what's happened. Now, what I want to show you is that people don't know this about themselves, and not knowing this can work to our supreme disadvantage. Here's an experiment we did at Harvard. We created a black-and-white photography course, and we allowed students to come in and learn how to use a darkroom.
So we gave them cameras; they went around campus; they took 12 pictures of their favorite professors and their dorm room and their dog, and all the other things they wanted to have Harvard memories of. They bring us the camera; we make up a contact sheet; they figure out which are the two best pictures; and we now spend six hours teaching them about darkrooms.
And they blow two of them up, and they have two gorgeous eight-by glossies of meaningful things to them, and we say, "Which one would you like to give up? So you have to give me one. You have to make a choice. You get to keep one, and I get to keep one. Now, there are two conditions in this experiment. In one case, the students are told, "But you know, if you want to change your mind, I'll always have the other one here, and in the next four days, before I actually mail it to headquarters" — Yeah, "headquarters" — "I'll be glad to swap it out with you.
In fact, I'll come to your dorm room, just give me an email. Better yet, I'll check with you. You ever want to change your mind, it's totally returnable. Your picture will be winging its way over the Atlantic. You will never see it again. Other students are just sent back to their little dorm rooms and they are measured over the next three to six days on their liking, satisfaction with the pictures. And look at what we find. First of all, here's what students think is going to happen.
They think they're going to maybe come to like the picture they chose a little more than the one they left behind, but these are not statistically significant differences. It's a very small increase, and it doesn't much matter whether they were in the reversible or irreversible condition.
Because here's what's really happening. Both right before the swap and five days later, people who are stuck with that picture, who have no choice, who can never change their mind, like it a lot!
And people who are deliberating — "Should I return it? Have I gotten the right one? Maybe this isn't the good one? Maybe I left the good one? They don't like their picture, and in fact even after the opportunity to swap has expired, they still don't like their picture.
Because the [reversible] condition is not conducive to the synthesis of happiness. So here's the final piece of this experiment. We bring in a whole new group of naive Harvard students and we say, "You know, we're doing a photography course, and we can do it one of two ways. We could do it so that when you take the two pictures, you'd have four days to change your mind, or we're doing another course where you take the two pictures and you make up your mind right away and you can never change it.
Which course would you like to be in? Because they do not know the conditions under which synthetic happiness grows. The Bard said everything best, of course, and he's making my point here but he's making it hyperbolically: Is there really nothing good or bad? Is it really the case that gall bladder surgery and a trip to Paris are just the same thing?
Laughter That seems like a one-question IQ test. They can't be exactly the same. In more turgid prose, but closer to the truth, was the father of modern capitalism, Adam Smith, and he said this. This is worth contemplating: We should have preferences that lead us into one future over another. Food has the power to create a happier and healthier world. Celebrity Nutritionist Kelly LeVeque will show you how. Group 8 Created with Sketch. January 29, — Group 7 Created with Sketch.
Group 9 Created with Sketch. Group 10 Created with Sketch. Group 11 Created with Sketch. A recent study published in The Lancet found an increase in dementia risk for folks who live close to areas with heavy traffic. Those who are overweight are more likely to develop dementia. People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, and who are obese all have higher rates of dementia.
But the pendulum also swings the other way. It can also affect your brain in a serious way. Too much booze could lead to a type of dementia. Research ties alcohol consumption to declines in cognitive health, too.
This eventually leads to brain issues, including dementia. Proper treatment can improve outcomes. People with depression are more likely to deal with cognitive decline. The Journal of the Neurological Sciences explains it has to do with changes to the white matter, or physical structures in our brain, over time. Treating your depression now will up your chances of staving off dementia in the future.
Challenging yourself mentally may reduce your risk. You can think of your brain as a muscle. Not surprisingly, being overtly lazy is bad for your brain.
Food for thought: the smart way to better brain health
This One Surprising Habit Could Put Your Brain at Risk of Dementia According to leading dementia researcher Frank Gunn-Moore, your dependence “It's important to promote good brain health and to do that is to use it, but these our brain to the Internet,” Gunn-Moore, the director of research for the. Moderate drinking may damage parts of the brain, according to long-term study. At that point, studies had already linked the practice to a higher risk of breast, “You'd have to put half of the group on alcohol, and the other half on placebo, the real thing, it can influence their thoughts and behaviors related to health. A brain-healthy diet optimizes your capacity for keeping a healthy, sharp and that as women's hormone levels go down during menopause, their risk goes up for . new book "Brain Food: The Surprising Power of Eating for Cognitive Power ". . brain function and shares approachable, actionable tips to put that research .