Harvard U. TrackYourHappiness.org iPhone Webapp-based Project

NPR’s Talk of the Nation Science Friday recently interviewed
Matt Killingsworth, a PhD candidate in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. The opt-in project asks people to provide an estimate of how happy they are throughout the day.

Quantifying Happiness

Participants get email asking them to login to the project’s website and use a simple slider on a iPhone web friendly web page to note how they feel on a scale ranging from “Very bad” to “Very good.” They are also asked what they were doing at the time (from a list of 22 activities) and if they were thinking about something other than what they were doing (focused or mind-wandering). About 5,000 people are participating in the on-going research. The bottom line? People are unhappiest when they are not focused on the task at hand (mind-wandering). Since mind-wandering occurs about 47% of the time according to the study, I guess people are happy a bit over half of the time.

You can find the project’s site at:

https://www.trackyourhappiness.org/