Archive for September 20th, 2012

September 20, 2012

Dudeism

dudeism

Dudeism has sometimes been referred to as a ‘mock religion,’ though its founder and many adherents regard it as ‘real.’ Its stated primary objective is to promote a philosophy and lifestyle consistent with the original form of Chinese Taoism, outlined in ‘Tao and Laozi’ (6th century BCE), blended with concepts by the Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BCE), and personified by the modern day character ‘The Dude’ (Jeff Bridges) in the Coen Brothers’ 1998 film ‘The Big Lebowski.’

Founded in 2005 by Oliver Benjamin, a journalist based in Thailand, Dudeism’s official organizational name is ‘The Church of the Latter-Day Dude.’ At least 160,000 ‘Dudeist Priests’ have been ordained.

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September 20, 2012

Happiness Economics

Happiness economics is the quantitative study of happiness, positive and negative affect, well-being, quality of life, life satisfaction, and related concepts, typically combining economics with other fields such as psychology and sociology. It typically treats such happiness-related measures, rather than wealth, income or profit, as something to be maximized.

The field has grown substantially since the late 20th century, for example by the development of methods, surveys and indices to measure happiness and related concepts. Given its very nature, reported happiness is subjective. It is difficult to compare one person’s happiness with another. It can be especially difficult to compare happiness across cultures. However, many happiness economists believe they have solved this comparison problem. Cross-sections of large data samples across nations and time demonstrate consistent patterns in the determinants of happiness.

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September 20, 2012

Positive Psychology

Martin Seligman

Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology whose purpose was summed up in 1998 by psychologists Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: ‘We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise, which achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving individuals, families, and communities.’ Positive psychologists seek ‘to find and nurture genius and talent’, and ‘to make normal life more fulfilling,’ not simply to treat mental illness.

The field is intended to complement, not to replace traditional psychology. It does not seek to deny the importance of studying how things go wrong, but rather to emphasize the importance of using the scientific method to determine how things go right. This field brings attention to the possibility that focusing only on the disorder itself would result in a partial concept of the patient’s condition.

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September 20, 2012

Optimism Bias

Optimism

The optimism bias (also known as unrealistic or comparative optimism) is a bias that causes a person to believe that they are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others. There are four factors that cause a person to be optimistically biased: their desired end state, their cognitive mechanisms, the information they have about themselves versus others, and overall mood.

The optimistic bias is seen in a number of situations. For example, people believing that they are less at risk of being a crime victim, smokers believing that they are less likely to contract lung cancer or disease than other smokers, first-time bungee jumpers believing that they are less at risk of an injury than other jumpers, or traders who think they are less exposed to losses in the markets.

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