Who says we are happy?

A recent study by Professors from University of Vermont has suggested that our happiness has increased by 4% in the last few years. The internet based study collected data from blogs and analyzed the mood of its authors. A Science NOW article reports the results that is to be published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

Is this really a good news? I do not think so...

Its hard to understand the rationale behind this 'investigation'. This study seems to assume that majority of people in the world have access to internet and that the most favorite activity of people around the globe is blogging and writing songs and making it available to strangers on the internet.

It is probably right to say that blogs reflect the mood of an individual. However, it is grossly inaccurate to believe that blogs reflect just that. There are blogs about virtually everything including fictitious accounts of one's life. Using selected words to assess the emotion of the blogger at the time of writing can lead to false picture of his/her state of mind. This is highly error-prone when the group under study comprises of young people who find it fashionable and trendy to use words that hold "dark" emotional values.

Have the scientists tried to analyze content from other languages? English is certainly not the only language people use. Neither is it the language used by majority of people in the world. This study is very clearly US-centric. It says, "The happiest day since 2005 was 4 November 2008, the U.S. presidential election, with a score of 6.3." While the population of United States hardly constitutes a major chunk of the world population, the number of people who find this news sensible is likely to be far too less and its incorrect to say that this study reflects the 'mood' of the world. I believe this is true even if one considers only those who use internet regularly.

The views of the professors are equally 'regional' in its implications and can never be extrapolated to the real world out there!

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