The Science of Happiness
Professor Catherine Sanderson / Amherst College
Happiness has been in the news quite a bit lately. The UN released a “Happiness Report” rating nearly 200 countries, which found that the world’s happiest people live in Northern Europe (Denmark, Norway, Finland, and the Netherlands). The US ranked 11th. The report’s conclusion affirmatively states that happiness has predictable causes and is correlated specifically to various measures that governments can regulate and encourage. And there’s more. A new AARP study looks at how Americans feel – and what factors contribute to their sense of contentment. It concludes that nearly 50% of us are “somewhat happy” and another 19% are “very happy.”
Catherine Sanderson is the Poler Family Professor and Chair of Psychology at Amherst College, and is often cited as the school’s most popular professor. Her research has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. She has published over 25 journal articles in addition to three college textbooks. In 2012, she was named one of the country’s top 300 professors by the Princeton Review.
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