The equation of happiness

by @ulaulaman #mathematics #happiness #smile
\[H(t) = w_0 + w_1 \sum_{j=1}^t \gamma^{t-j} CR_j + w_2 \sum_{j=1}^t \gamma^{t-j} EV_j + w_3 \sum_{j=1}^t \gamma^{t-j} RPE_j\] I don't know if my intuition is correct, but the equation from Rutledge et al. reminds me of a neural network, or more correctly a sum of three different neural networks. In every case, this could became an important step in order to mathematically describe our brain.
A common question in the social science of well-being asks, "How happy do you feel on a scale of 0 to 10?" Responses are often related to life circumstances, including wealth. By asking people about their feelings as they go about their lives, ongoing happiness and life events have been linked, but the neural mechanisms underlying this relationship are unknown. To investigate it, we presented subjects with a decision-making task involving monetary gains and losses and repeatedly asked them to report their momentary happiness. We built a computational model in which happiness reports were construed as an emotional reactivity to recent rewards and expectations. Using functional MRI, we demonstrated that neural signals during task events account for changes in happiness.

Rutledge R.B., Skandali N., Dayan P. & Dolan R.J. (2014). A computational and neural model of momentary subjective well-being., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, PMID:
via design & trends

1 comment:

  1. This study is another example of researchers inappropriately ignoring the feeling and lower brains when allegedly researching emotions. Only thinking brain areas were measured and considered in the researchers’ efforts to determine the subjects’ happiness.

    Efforts to determine emotions by thinking brain measurements seldom reveal what people actually feel. What’s measured is a construct of people’s thinking brains – a proxy for their emotions – that may not have anything to do with what people actually feel at the time.

    It may be more appropriate to characterize the subjects’ self-reports of happiness in terms such as “this is what I think I should tell the researchers about what I think I should feel.”

    What we think we should feel may not be what we actually feel. Feeling brain measurements need to be taken and considered when subjects in an experiment self-report degrees of happiness if the researchers intend to draw conclusions about feelings of happiness.

    “..we show that emotional reactivity in the form of momentary happiness in response to outcomes of a probabilistic reward task is explained not by current task earnings, but by the combined influence of recent reward expectations and prediction errors arising from those expectations.”

    It’s a thinking brain exercise of expectations and prediction errors to find that “..moment-to-moment happiness reflects not just how well things are going, but whether things are going better than expected..”


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