December 20, 2012
Money Still Can’t Bring Happiness
The vast majority of us wouldn’t dream of trading time with our children for a 50 percent pay hike.
Then why, when asked to give up evenings off from work – presumably family time – for the big pay raise, would more than half of us go for it?
In short, how can the same people – more than 2,000 adults surveyed in August by New York Life – so flatly contradict themselves?
“We’re not even conscious of how our behavior conflicts with our values,” said Christine Carter, director of the parenting program at University of California’s Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, which studies happiness, compassion and social bonding.
This lack of awareness is especially true when money is involved. The human brain lights up like a Christmas tree when money is offered as the reward in neurological experiments, as the prospect of the reward releases dopamine that sets off a burst of pleasure.
But Carter, an expert in happiness, said the research also shows that, over the long-term, “our social connections” – not money – will bring us true happiness.