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Money can buy happiness PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Friday, 15 January 2016 16:39

By Pat Holder


The Powerball prize of over a billion dollars is so much money it’s dizzying.  What would anyone even begin to do with that much money?

My best friend from Colorado and I got talking about it and she told me she would buy me a new car, something I have never had, and we would go traveling. She thought of me  before she mentioned things she would buy herself.

That jogged my mind to something I saw on PBS Newshour on Jan. 7, a story by Economic Correspondant Paul Solman about the effect of giving versus receiving. The story started with behavioral economist Elizabeth Dunn’s work in which she studied toddlers  who were given “kid gold,” Goldfish crackers, and got the chance to give away crackers to a stuffed animal puppet. Their facial expressions were evaluated by students who knew nothing about the experiment.

The results proved the scripture verse, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The children were happier, evidenced by their smiling and clapping, when they gave away the crackers than when they received them.

The program went on about another study in which Georgetown University’s Abigail Marsh studied adults who were given $5 or $20 and randomly told to spend on themselves or others. The results were the same as the toddlers’-—people who spent on others were happier by the end of the day.

The last study, conducted by Professor Dunn, examined blood pressure of people who were given pill bottles each containing $20 and again randomly told to spend on either themselves or others. Predictably, the blood pressure of people who spent on others was significantly improved compared to those who spent on themselves where no change was noted.

Finally, Associate Professor Marsh examined part of the brain called the amygdala which determines our motivations and emotions. According to the experts, the amygdalas of people who are extreme altruists, like people who donated a kidney to a complete stranger, had eight percent larger than average amygdalas compared with people diagnosed as psychopaths, who lack empathy and remorse, and who had noticeably smaller than normal amygdalas.

Who would have thought science would be able to prove  giving is, indeed, better than receiving? Money, like the ridiculous amount in the recent Powerball prize, can buy happiness if you give it away.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 January 2016 16:40