Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kahneman on Happiness

At a recent TED Conference, Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winning psychologist, gave a talk about an intriguing theory where he differentiates memories of happiness from the ongoing experience of happiness.It seems to me that his idea has interesting implications for the study of mindfulness.

In traditional notions of mindfulness, a person spends more time in the present moment -- according to Kahneman's theory, for this person, their experiential happiness would then be more influential. A person who is less mindful would spend more time thinking about past episodes of their life and thus be more influenced by remembered happiness. Perhaps a person who is more mindful will not be as influenced by memories of past unhappiness (or happiness) and vice-versa with a person who is less mindful. To me this was an interesting idea that could fairly easily be translated into a study, if it hasn't already.

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