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Togetherness and Quality Conversation Key to Happiness

Togetherness and Quality Conversation Key to Happiness A new research study investigated whether happy and unhappy people differ in the types of conversations they tend to engage in.

For a four-day period, psychological scientists from the University of Arizona and Washington University in St. Louis had volunteers equipped with an unobtrusive recording device called the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR).

This device periodically records snippets of sounds as participants go about their lives. For this experiment, the EAR sampled 30 seconds of sounds every 12.5 minutes yielding a total of more than 20,000 recordings.

Researchers then listened to the recordings and identified the conversations as trivial small talk or substantive discussions. In addition, the volunteers completed personality and well-being assessments.

An analysis of the recordings revealed some very interesting findings.

Greater well-being was related to spending less time alone and more time talking to others: The happiest participants spent 25 percent less time alone and 70 percent more time talking than the unhappiest participants.

In addition to the difference in the amount of social interactions happy and unhappy people had, there was also a difference in the types of conversations they took part in: The happiest participants had twice as many substantive conversations and one third as much small talk as the unhappiest participants.

These findings suggest that the happy life is social and conversationally deep rather than solitary and superficial.

The researchers surmise that — though the current findings cannot identify the causal direction — deep conversations may have the potential to make people happier.

They note, “Just as self-disclosure can instill a sense of intimacy in a relationship, deep conversations may instill a sense of meaning in the interaction partners.”

The findings are reported in the latest issue of Psychological Science.

Source: Association for Psychological Science

Togetherness and Quality Conversation Key to Happiness

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Togetherness and Quality Conversation Key to Happiness. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 12, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/03/05/togetherness-and-quality-conversation-key-to-happiness/11897.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.