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Scientifically proven: You can’t buy happiness

Jennifer Stellar, former Ph.D. student in social psychology | May 31, 2011

Well-being has been one of the most important concerns for humans since we evolved big enough brains to contemplate more than mere survival. Researchers measure well-being as feeling satisfied with your life and experiencing more positive than negative affect, but colloquially, most of us just refer to it as happiness. We spend much of our time … Continue reading »

Money and character

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | February 23, 2011

One of the criticisms that foreigners (and many of us, too) have long had about Americans, going back to the earliest years, is how materialist and money-grubbing we are. Tocqueville was gentler than most when he wrote that “the desire to acquire the good things of this world is the dominant passion among Americans. . … Continue reading »

Bitter chocolate news

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | January 15, 2011

Cacao beans, the natural source of chocolate, famously were used as a form of money among the Aztecs. Not that everyone wandered the markets in Tenochtitlan with bags of them ready to pay for other goods: consumption, and probably ownership, of cacao was restricted to the nobility. Instead, cacao beans were a valuable, scarce luxury, … Continue reading »