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The happiness of individuals is an important metric for societies, but we know little about how daily life events together influence how happy we feel. To address this question, Robb Rutledge, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University, has collected data both in their lab and from thousands of people around the world playing games on their smartphone app The Happiness Project. They find that happiness depends not on how well you are doing but whether you are doing better than expected. Using brain scanning, they find areas of the brain that predict future happiness and that relate to the differences between individuals in what determines happiness.


  • Robb Rutledge (Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University)

    Robb Rutledge

    Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University

    Robb Rutledge is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University. He has a BSc from Caltech, a PhD from New York University, and was on the faculty of University College London before moving to Yale. Professor Rutledge’s research combines computational models with neuroimaging, pharmacology, and smartphone-based data collection to study the relationship between decision making and emotion across the lifespan.

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