EEG experiment proves that money can buy happiness (first-ever scale to measure pleasure)

eeg_pleasure

As we’re all so busy rushing through life, it’s easy to miss the moments of pleasure. Neuroscientists have revealed how everyday pleasure rank against each other and it’s official: money CAN buy happiness, reveals first ever pleasure scale. Winning £10 was all it took to dramatically increase people’s feelings of pleasure. Following closely behind this was the level of pleasure generated by affection. As for playing with puppies and kittens, puppies generated the highest feeling of pleasure in all participants, proving the belief that dogs really are a man’s best friend. As for chocolate, the test also proved just a tiny taste is all it takes to generate a significant pleasure boost.

Recording people’s brainwaves while they were placed in different situations, neuroscientists from Birkbeck University have calibrated the first-ever scale to measure pleasure. Using MyndPlay EEG (electroencephalography) headsets to measure an individual’s brain activity, neuroscientists were able to create a scale enabling them to place a numerical value on the level of pleasure people gain from different experiences. Rating between -100 (most displeasurable) and +100 (most pleasurable) and based on intensity and duration of brain activity, various emotions such as affection, play, good fortune, visual stimulation and achievement were tested.
Women were found to find life more pleasurable, recording an average of 66.4 on the pleasure scale, while men fell behind at 58.2. In addition, men were revealed as most affected by winning money, scoring as high as 90.1 when they were surprised with £10, while women were less impressed, scoring 79.3.

Here is how researchers made the first ever scale for pleasure:

Below is the table of results ranked in order of pleasure:

EXPERIENCE EXPERIMENT AVERAGE RESULT
Good Fortune Unexpected windfall of money 82.9
Affection Playing with puppies 67.5
Taste Beyond Dark chocolate 65
Affection Playing with kittens 64.1
Sound Concert violinist playing well 61
Taste Green & Blacks chocolate 54
Taste Divine chocolate 52
Visual Stimulation Positive images (eg. Baby, a smile) 50.9
Visual Stimulation Negative images (eg.rotten teeth, crying baby) -38.4
Sound Concert violinist playing badly -55.7
The aim of the 80 participant study (conducted in December 2012) was to create a linear scale that could allow people to apply a numerical measure on the level of pleasure they experience. Such a scale has long been proposed by scientists but never successfully formulated. Conducting this study using neuroscience is another great example of the growing field of neuromarketing. Neuromarketing allows advertisers to go beyond traditional focus groups to tap into consumers’ subconscious minds by relying on biometric indicators (brainwave activity, heart rate, respiratory rate, etc).
The researchers from Birkbeck University are now interested to test more stimuli, so they ask us to suggest a pleasure to test. What’s your moment of pleasure? What would you suggest?
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One response to “EEG experiment proves that money can buy happiness (first-ever scale to measure pleasure)

  1. I love winning $ from the lottery scratch offs. I do think $ can buy happiness; however, after the win there is no lingering joy. When you are in love or sharing with friends there is a feeling that lingers, some people refer to it as a bliss.

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