Respect brings more happiness than money

Overall happiness is based on the degree of respect and admiration you command in society, rather than your bank balance, says a new research. Psychological scientist Cameron Anderson of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and his co-authors explored the relationship between different types of status and well-being.

“We got interested in this idea because there is abundant evidence that higher socio-economic status — higher income or wealth, higher education — does not boost subjective well-being (or happiness) much at all. Yet at the same time, many theories suggest that higher status should boost happiness,” said Anderson, reports the journal Psychological Science.

So if higher socioeconomic status doesn’t equate with a greater sense of well-being, then what does?

Anderson and his colleagues hypothesized that higher socio-metric status — respect and admiration in your face-to-face groups, such as your friendship network, your neighbourhood, or your athletic team — might make a difference in your overall happiness, according to a Berkeley statement. “Having high standing in your local ladder leads to receiving more respect, having more influence, and being more integrated into the group’s social fabric,” Anderson said. Over a series of four studies, Anderson and his colleagues set out to test this hypothesis.

Together, the four studies provide clear evidence for the relationship between socio-metric status and well-being. But why does socio-metric status seem to matter so much when socioeconomic status doesn’t? One possible explanation, which Anderson hopes to explore in future research, is that people adapt.

“One of the reasons why money doesn’t buy happiness is that people quickly adapt to the new level of income or wealth. Lottery winners, for example, are initially happy but then return to their original level of happiness quickly,” said Anderson.

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