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Neuroscientists Find Formula for Customer Happiness (It’s all about Expectations)

Here’s what happiness looks like to a neuroscientist;


The happiness formula has just been published by neuroscientists at University College London in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) (full study).

The neuroscientists developed an equation that could predict subjective happiness, and then tested it with 18,420 people.

Squiggle-babble aside, the key finding of the research is that happiness is about ‘expectations’ as much as it is experiences; the anticipation of a positive experience drives happiness – as much as the reward of the experience itself.  Looking forward to something is an essential component in happiness.  They also found – naturally enough – our prior mood affects our happiness levels.  It’s as if happiness plays in three dimensions – the past, present and the future. Marketers take note.

What does this mean for digital marketing?  The simple takeout is that the effectiveness of branding, strategy and creative would benefit if we focused on building a sense of anticipation and shaping expectations.



Written by
Dr Paul Marsden
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Digital wellbeing covers the latest scientific research on the impact of digital technology on human wellbeing. Curated by psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden (@marsattacks). Sponsored by WPP agency SYZYGY.