Strike it rich!

Plus, a brief history of psychological science.

“Happiness is a fairly universal goal, but how we pursue it differs.” —  Sonja Lyubomirsky

BRAIN WAVES

  • The spice of life. What does it mean to live a good life? We often look for answers in the search for happiness or meaning. But a new paper by Shigehiro Oishi of the University of Virginia and Erin Westgate of the University of Florida proposes an additional dimension of the good life: what they call psychological richness. The researchers explain, “Unlike happy or meaningful lives, psychologically rich lives are best characterized by a variety of interesting and perspective-changing experiences.” Like studying abroad. Or reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. In a survey, Oishi and Westgate found that people tend to think of psychological richness as something separate from happiness and meaning. “Our conception of richness allows for moments of discomfort and unpleasant emotion," Oishi and Westgate write. This understanding can help us make sense of why some experiences are still worth pursuing, even when they’re difficult or uncomfortable.

  • A brief history of psychological research. Want a crash course in psychology? At ScienceNews, writer Bruce Bower breaks down 100 years of psychological studies — and the often fierce debates that have emerged from them. “Warring scientific tribes armed with clashing assumptions about how people think and behave have struggled for dominance in psychology and other social sciences,” Bower writes. Despite the many questions we still have to answer, Bower also points out that human beings have come a long way in exploring “the science of us.”

  • What’s my purpose? A sense of purpose does more than just keep us focused. It can improve our well-being, resilience — even our physical health. Contrary to the traditional way we view purpose, it isn’t something to be found. It’s something we develop from within. Listen to learn more.

ON THE PODCAST

Sept 6: We all think we know what will make us happy: more money. A better job. Love. But psychologist Sonja Lyubomirskysays happiness doesn't necessarily work like that. This week, we explore why happiness often slips through our fingers, and how to savor — and stretch out — our joys. 

Sept 13: Casual sex isn’t about love. But what if it’s not even about lust? Sociologist Lisa Wade believes that the sexual culture on college campuses today is different from that of previous generations. In this episode, we explore what this culture means for those who choose to participate, and for those who opt out.

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MIND GAMES

What common English word contains the letters "WSP", in that order, without any letters between?

LAST MONTH’S PUZZLE

A girl was ten on her last birthday. She will be twelve on her next birthday. How can this statement be true?

The Answer:  Today is her 11th birthday.

FROM THE TWITTERATI…

A MOMENT OF JOY

Stop everything and check out this live panda cam:

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