Busier People May Be Happier Than the Idle

CHICAGO, July 30 (UPI) — People with a sense of purpose who accomplish a lot, or even those who fill their days with pointless activity, are happier than the idle, U.S. researchers say.

Christopher K. Hsee of the University of Chicago and colleagues say the study involved having volunteer study subjects complete a survey, then wait 15 minutes before the next survey would be ready.


The study subjects had the option of dropping off the completed survey at a nearby location and wait the rest of the time, or dropping the survey off at a more distant location, where walking back and forth would keep the study subject busy for the 15-minute period.

No matter which option the study subjects chose, the volunteers received a candy bar when they handed in a survey.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, finds if the candy offered at the two locations was the same, the subjects were more likely to choose the close location and stay idle, but if different candies were offered at the two locations, the subjects were more apt to choose the farther location.

The study subjects who chose to stay busy by walking to the more distant location were found to be happier than those who chose to be idle, the study says.

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