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D. How To Rate Happiness

Narrator: This is Science Today. Just what is it about some people that makes them happier than others? Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside, has been conducting research on happiness.

Lyubomirsky: I interviewed people who had been nominated by their friends as exceptionally happy or exceptionally unhappy and I asked them questions like, do you tend to compare yourself with others, with your friends, with your colleagues and if so, how often do you do that and how do you feel?

Narrator: Happy people had trouble understanding the question, while those rated as unhappy, knew all too well what Lyubomirsky meant.

Lyubomirsky: If you're insecure about yourself, you want to show yourself, prove to yourself that you're better than other people. Whereas, if you're secure about yourself, if you're happy, you don't need to do that. You have your own personal standards.

Narrator: Understanding more about these personal standards is an important part of Lyubomirsky's research, since such standards may help in the treatment of depression. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.