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Description: Think carefully about the answer to this question. If you are given a choice would you rather have more money, or more free time? So perhaps $1000 versus a week off to do whatever you want. Which choice would you make? And which choice, once made, would make you happier? After you’ve answered that question think a little bit about why you think your choice would lead to more happiness (or if it doesn’t think about why you picked a choice that would not make you happier). Once you’re done, have read through the article linked below and see if your addictions match with those of the researchers who conducted the study looking precisely at this question.

Source: What Should You Choose: Time or Money? Hal Hirschfield and Cassie Mogliner Holmes, Gray Matter, Sunday Review, New York Times.

Date: September 9, 2016


Picture Credit:  Marion Fayolle

Links:  Article Link —

So how did your predictions turn out when compared to those found by the researchers in the study linked above? This project is one of a growing number of research projects within his general area of Positive Psychology investigating the kinds of situations and decisions that add to or detract from our general feelings of happiness and life satisfaction. The research finding that choosing time over money is more likely to increase happiness fits with the general observation that the overall level of societal happiness is not particularly increased over the last few decades despite the fact the general income levels have increased. It is worth giving some serious thought to the issue of work-life balance when making both short and long-term career plans. Psychologically speaking, money by some happiness but only up to a point were better off making other kinds of choices.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the possible ways in which choosing money or choosing time can impact a general level of life satisfaction or happiness?
  2. Can you think of any additional variables that the researchers might need to consider in their efforts to more fully understand the relationship between life choices in life happiness?
  3. Can you think of some ways in which we might need to think more carefully about how we define concepts like life satisfaction or happiness as we proceed with the sort of Positive Psychology research?

References (Read Further):

Hershfield, H. E., Mogilner, C., & Barnea, U. (2016). People Who Choose Time Over Money Are Happier. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1948550616649239.

Vohs, K. D., Mead, N. L., & Goode, M. R. (2006). The psychological consequences of money. science, 314(5802), 1154-1156.

Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319(5870), 1687-1688.