El blog de 道

The importance of being happy
30/03/2012, 2:34 pm
Filed under: Fragments

The subjects were responding spontaneously, not aware that they were being studied under controlled experimental circumstances. First, some “nice things happened.” A simple matter of “finding” a dime in a phone booth. Or the pleasant surprise of receiving a “gift” of cookies while studying in the library. Suppose you were the “lucky” person who had found the (planted) dime. Several minutes later, when someone else dropped their papers, it would turn out that you would bend over to pick them up. Or, if you had received the cookies, you would then volunteer more readily to help another student. Moreover, if you were the cookie receiver, you would do more than become helpful in positive ways. For in a sense, you would then be “delivered from evil”: you would reject any nasty suggestions to annoy other students.

In a separate experiment, certain subjects received a free gift, such as a note pad or nail clipper. Afterward, they were asked to evaluate a most sensitive matter: how did their own cars really perform? If you had been the gift recipient, your mood would have become positive to such a degree that you would later give more optimistic reports about your automobile’s performance. But the nonrecipi ent control subjects remained in the usual, more circumspect mood of the average car owner.

The third study focused on “victorious” subjects. They had just “won” at a computer game, and had been pumped up into an elevated mood state. Earlier, this group of subjects had listened to a list of words played on a tape. Some of these thirty-six words had positive connotations; others carried a negative emotional valence. If you had been declared a “winner,” you would later be able readily to recall from memory the positive words on this earlier list. What about the nonpositive words? Your high spirits didn’t make them more accessible.

In a final study, one group of students performed a perceptual-motor test. The researchers then induced a positive affect by telling these subjects that they had just scored a high 97 percent! The control group merely evaluated these same tests. Both groups then went on to a separate project. This second task involved sifting through fifty-four items of data. Their goal: to select the best automobile from a list of nine candidates. If you had been in the “high-scoring” group, you would screen the items more rapidly and reach decisions sooner. You would focus on the key issues of high priority and discard irrelevant information.

Indeed, one message seems clear: people change when they feel happy and confident about themselves, and comfortable in the world at large. Their positive feeling states spread out and become linked to.

-J. Austin (Zen and the brain)

Siempre he dicho, metafóricamente, que solo puede dar el que ya tiene. Sólo el que es feliz puede dar sinceramente, sin esperar nada a cambio. Por tanto preocúpate primero de ser feliz tú independientemente de lo que pase fuera antes de intentar salvar al mundo… cuando lo seas, harás felices a los que hay a tu alrededor incluso sin darte cuenta.

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Sí señor, yo pienso lo mismo y en eso estamos algunas y algunos 🙂

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