Size Matters with Regard to Happiness

Size Matters with Regard to Happiness

Research identifies the location of happiness in the brain.

Some people seem to always be happier than others and a team of Japanese scientists may have discovered part of the reason, according to a report on

Waturu Sato and his team of researchers at Kyoto University in Japan undertook a study to determine what part of the brain is related to happiness.  Happiness is defined as a subjective experience based on feelings that vary in intensity from one person to another.  What makes one person slightly happy could make a different person ecstatic.

The research revealed that the combination of positive emotions and satisfaction had an impact on a part of the brain, called the precuneus, located in the parietal lobe.  Prior to this new research, neurologists had not been able to exactly identify what parts of the brain played a major part in the feeling of happiness.

Using an MRI, the neuroscientists on the team analyzed the brains of 51 study participants in an attempt to measure their happiness and emotions, looking at both emotional and cognitive components.

Each participant was given a questionnaire to complete in which the research team evaluated the answers to determine how happy they were and the intensity of the emotions.

The findings revealed those that were given the highest score of happiness had more grey matter in the precuneus than those who scored lower on the happiness test.   The team also noted the intensity of emotions were associated with the precuneus, as well.

Their conclusion was those with a larger precuneus tended to feel emotions in a more intense positive way, and were generally happier than those with the smaller precuneus.  The team also found those with the larger precuneus did not feel unhappy with the same intensity of their counterparts.

Dr. Sato added that several studies have shown that meditation tends to increase the amount of grey matter in the precuneus, and that this new research as to the location of the center of happiness in the brain could be useful in developing happiness programs.


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