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The daily behaviour of happy people

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Do very happy people have different daily routines than less happy people? We know a lot about the traits and life circumstances of happy people, but little research has examined the behaviour of happy people as they go about their daily routines. First, I describe a set of three daily diary studies in which I tracked people’s happiness and daily social interactions across several days. I found that happier people have more daily social interactions with both strong ties (i.e., close friends and family) and weak ties (i.e., acquaintances). Additionally, people are happier on days when they have more strong or weak tie interactions than usual. Next, I describe the Emotion Sense mobile phone app, developed in collaboration with computer scientists at Cambridge, which collects data from people “in the wild”. Using experience sampling, the app collects self-report data (including happiness), which is matched up to behavioural data sensed directly from the phone (location from the GPS sensor, physical activity from the accelerometer, social activity from phone call and text message logs). I report some preliminary findings about the behaviour of happy people.

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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