Think you’re happy? Song lyrics may have the answer

Story from Chronicle of Higher Education about research that shows analysis of 230-thousand songs by a mathematician and computer scientist to assess happiness. (Thanks, Ken!)


?Their results are reported this week in the Journal of Happiness Studies in an article titled “Measuring the Happiness of Large-Scale Written Expression: Songs, Blogs, and Presidents.”

And what the two scholars found certainly was interesting. The last U.S. presidential election produced the happiest day in four years. Among the least happy were the day of Michael Jackson’s death last month, the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the day before.

The two professors say one thing that differentiates their results from those of other surveys is that their participants did not know they were being tested.

“We can’t say what is going on in someone’s head,” Mr. Dodds says. “We wanted to look at what people do, not at what people think they do.”

Their research also showed several trends. People seemed to get happier as they got older, until their 60s, when happiness began to decline. Happiness didn’t vary much depending on the day of the week. And since the 1960s, songs have gotten sadder……”


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