1932

Abstract

Can happiness be reliably increased? Thousands of studies speak to this question. However, many of them were conducted during a period in which researchers commonly “hacked,” creating uncertainty about how many discoveries might be false positives. To prevent hacking, happiness researchers increasingly preregister their studies, committing to analysis plans before analyzing data. We conducted a systematic literature search to identify preregistered experiments testing strategies for increasing happiness. We found surprisingly little support for many widely recommended strategies (e.g., performing random acts of kindness). However, our review suggests that other strategies—such as being more sociable—may reliably promote happiness. We also found strong evidence that governments and organizations can improve happiness by providing underprivileged individuals with financial support. We conclude that happiness research stands on the brink of an exciting new era, in which modern best practices will be applied to develop theoretically grounded strategies that can produce lasting gains in life satisfaction.

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2024-01-18
2024-05-23
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