Can happiness be reduced to a mathematical equation?:
Can we predict happiness?, by Robb Rutledge, Max Planck University College London Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research: What makes us happy? Well-being researchers have identified many variables related to happiness, but we still don’t know exactly how the events of our daily lives combine to influence how we feel from moment to moment. People should get happier when good things happen, but clearly this is not the whole story.
We designed a study to investigate the relationship between rewards and happiness. We brought people into the lab and asked them repeatedly about their happiness as they chose between safe and risky monetary options. Risky choices were gambles with equal probabilities (like a coin toss) of a better or worse outcome. If they chose to gamble on a given trial, they then found out whether they won or lost.
Based on the data, we developed a mathematical equation to predict how self-reported happiness depends on past events. ...