Source: LOOP SCOOPS
Major funding for LOOP SCOOPS is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Although the information in these materials has been funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement 83447601 to WGBH, it may not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.
In this animated video from LOOP SCOOPS, a sphinx gives three children free rein in a toy store for 60 seconds, telling them to take whatever makes them happy. Brad and Oliver collect shopping carts full of toys, but are only mildly happy and can't recall exactly what toys they chose. Clementine, on the other hand, selects only one small toy but is thrilled with her choice.
Almost all people believe that more money would increase their happiness. However, researchers have found that this is not necessarily true. Once people's basic needs—like food, shelter, and safety—are met, more income doesn't actually make people happier. In fact, researchers at Princeton and elsewhere have found that people with above-average incomes, while relatively satisfied with their lives, tend to be more tense and do not necessarily spend the extra time they have in enjoyable ways.
Such research, however, doesn't stop people from thinking that more money and more stuff will make their lives better. Children, especially, are susceptible to this pitch. Young people view more than 40,000 ads per year on television alone, most of which tell them that expensive toys, packaged foods, and other material goods will make them happy.
But what really makes kids happy? A marketing professor named Lan Nguyen Chaplin surveyed 150 children and adolescents, ages 8 through 18, asking what made them happy. Five themes emerged: people and pets, achievements, material things, hobbies, and sports. For younger children, hobbies and people, rather than material goods, were key sources of happiness. By the time adolescence hit, kids reported more happiness from material goods, but people and pets remained central. What really makes kids happy, research is discovering, is spending time with family and friends.
Here are suggested ways to engage students with this video and with activities related to this topic.
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