Empowering People through Behavioral Science

Purpose & Well-Being

In exploring the human experience of purpose, the NPP project has identified several core themes that are particularly significant, and which provide a useful framework for organizing our activities.  This page displays the content from this website tagged for one of those themes: Purpose &Well-Being.

Work on Purpose & Well-Being recognizes that although purpose is commonly understood to be a source of deep personal fulfillment, little is known about just how individuals connect the sense, pursuit, and experience of purpose to their own well-being and happiness in everyday life.  To what extent do people accurately identify purposeful activities that are likely to improve their well-being? What factors promote the recognition of purposeful activity as an avenue to greater well-being? Under what conditions do people feel inspired and empowered to seek greater well-being through purposeful experience? See below for content related to our emerging insights.

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Oct 15 2015
Practical Tools for Purpose

Obama’s effort to ‘nudge’ America

(Politico) For the past year, the Obama administration has been running an experiment: Is it possible to make policy more effective by using psychology on citizens?

In the News
Sep 22 2015
Purpose & Prosocial Behavior

Here’s Why Some People Are More Religious Than Others

(TIME) When it comes to predicting the kind of people most likely to be religious, brainiac scientists used to be everyone’s last guess. The more educated a person was, the thinking went, the more likely they were to question the supernatural. 

In the News
Sep 10 2015
Purpose & Prosocial Behavior

The corrosive effect of knowing your neighbor’s wealth

(CBS News) When it comes to income inequality, ignorance apparently is bliss.

In the News
Jun 11 2015
Purpose & Well-Being

How the Poor Make Better Financial Decisions Than the Wealthy

(Slate) People often assume that the poor are less competent than the wealthy. Some even suggest that the poor have flawed values or ways of thinking. But my colleagues and I have recently found that the poor outperform the rich at some financial decisions. Under poverty, people develop a unique expertise.

In the News
May 01 2015
Purpose & Well-Being

The Science of Scarcity

(Harvard Magazine) Toward the end of World War II, while thousands of Europeans were dying of hunger, 36 men at the University of Minnesota volunteered for a study that would send them to the brink of starvation. Allied troops advancing into German-occupied territories with supplies and food were encountering droves of skeletal people they had no idea how to safely renourish, and researchers at the university had designed a study they hoped might reveal the best methods of doing so. But first, their volunteers had to agree to starve.

In the News
Dec 04 2014
Purpose & Well-Being

Emails Stress People Out, So Limit Yourself To Checking 3 Times A Day

(Medical Daily) Emails may be one of the most stressful modes of communication to date, and now there’s a daily threshold to stay within healthy limits. Researchers from the University of British Columbia examined stress levels related to work emails and found you can actually overload.

In the News
Oct 04 2014
Practical Tools for Purpose

I’m an adult. Stop nudging me

(The Globe and Mail) For years, the City of Toronto has been trying to get me to ride my bike to work. Armies of urban planners and health officials and environmentalists are convinced that bike commuting will make me healthier and happier and confer a wide range of social benefits, such as lessening traffic congestion and pollution. Secretly, they’re happy that the traffic is getting worse and worse, because they figure more and more people will abandon their cars and take up walking, cycling and public transit instead. If only we could be more like Amsterdam!

In the News
Sep 29 2014
Practical Tools for Purpose

Don’t Pick the Wrong iPhone

(Bloomberg) If you’re getting a new iPhone (because you're not bothered by the possibility it might bend), will you select the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus? A lot of people have been getting the latter, because it has a bigger screen, more pixels and better battery life. But before you join them, please take a deep breath. You might be making one of the most important, if least known, decision-making mistakes in all of behavioral science.

In the News
Sep 28 2014
Practical Tools for Purpose

14 Ways to Be a Happier Person

(Time) Billboard-worthy news: It's possible to amp up your bliss every single day with these simple, unexpected strategies.

In the News
Sep 09 2014
Purpose & Well-Being

10 Surprising Ways To Become Incredibly Happy

(Business Insider) Are there unexpected ways to be happy? And I pulled together research about the many unexpected and counterintuitive ways to find happiness.

In the News

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