09 Apr Getting serious about happiness
Studying happiness is hard. What one man loves another loathes. One woman’s joy is another’s junk. Social scientists, therefore, have generally left the contemplation of smiles and satisfaction to poets and philosophers. But that’s changing. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a leading expert on well-being, is establishing what he calls the world’s first Ph.D program focusing on positive psychology and the analysis of happiness, at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif. “Even though the things that make people happy seem ephemeral and immaterial, they are the most important things in life, and they have not been studied very seriously,” says Csikszentmihalyi, a professor of psychology and management and author of Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience.
His program, co-founded by assistant professor Jeanne Nakamura, an expert on creativity and mentoring, isn’t about quick fixes. Rather than teaching people how to be happy or educating happiness coaches, the school will train graduate students first in statistical methodology and then in specific research techniques. A small group of graduate students, about 10 at first, will use those tools to survey and analyze the variables that affect people’s satisfaction. The first group will enroll this fall, and the program has already started receiving inquiries. Candidates from a variety of academic backgrounds will be considered for admission.
To read more about these fascinating advances in the study and teaching of happiness – just click here.