AirTalk for February 20, 2014

Ordinary or extraordinary experiences, what makes you happiest?


Family members play in the river at Shimanto city in Kochi prefecture on August 14, 2013.

A new study from professors at UPenn’s Wharton School and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has found that as people age, ordinary experiences are more meaningful.

The study gave participants examples of ordinary and extraordinary experiences and asked them to rate their happiness after each. While both the young and the old seem to enjoy extraordinary experiences (like a tropical vacation, or watching a cat give birth to kittens), older participants were happier after ordinary experiences, like a good, long conversation, or a hot cup of coffee.

So are bucket lists for the young? Have ordinary experiences become more enjoyable to you as you age? What makes you happiest, and why?  


Cassie Mogilner, Assistant Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School, UPenn

Amit Bhattacharjee, Visiting Assistant Professor at Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

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