It isn’t money – a recent study says they have figured out what makes people truly happy.
A crew of Japanese scientists claims to have figured out the secret to happiness, and it may have more to do with the way the brain is wired than previously thought. According to a report from the Economic Times, researchers from Kyoto University have shown that people with more gray matter mass in a certain region of the brain tend to be happier.
The region of the brain called the precuneus, found in the medial parietal lobe, lights up when people experience consciousness. People who feel happiness on a more intense level were found to have larger average precuneus regions.
According to the study’s lead author, Professor Wataru Sato, it may even be possible to increase the gray matter mas in the precuneus through meditation. He hopes that his research will inform happiness programs that could help people make the most out of the things that make them happy.
The study scanned the brains of people using an MRI. Participants took a survey that assessed their level of happiness, how they were effected by different emotions, and their overall level of satisfaction with life.
The research suggests that happiness is a mixture of positive emotions and a sense of satisfaction and wholeness perceived by the precuneus. The participants who responded with high levels of happiness in the survey were found to have more grey matter mass in their precuneus.
Sato was happy that he could offer more insight into what makes people happy. A press release from the University of Kyoto outlining the details of the study can be found here.