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How to make someone feel fantastic (or awful) about their entire life:

Stashed in: #lifehacks, #happiness, Influence!, Emotion, Life, Think!, @bakadesuyo, Meaning of Life, Consequences, Psychology!, Misattribution!, The Feels!, Context

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Emotional context is huge for determining happiness:

I’ve posted a lot about how we underestimate the power of context and how we are terrible about remembering what really makes us happy.

Some people regard these ideas with skepticism.

Here’s a great example of how both work, and how, if you’re so inclined, you can make a friend feel fantastic or an enemy feel awful about their entire life. (Big hat tip to io9.)

In his bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman tells the story of a study where they asked students two questions:

  • How happy are you these days?
  • How many dates did you have last month?

They wanted to see if the answer to the first would have any effect on the answer to the other.

Nope. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

But what about when they reversed the order?

  • How many dates did you have last month?
  • How happy are you these days?

Oh boy.

Via Thinking, Fast and Slow:

In this sequence, the correlation between the number of dates and reported happiness was about as high as correlations between psychological measures can get. 

Eric's article explains why:

This technique sounds like a form of misattribution of emotions:

This technique also reminds me of the selling technique called priming:

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