Nov 24, 2015 08:56 PM EST
Looking for the key to happiness? Japanese researchers might just have the scientifical answer to your question. Scientists from Kyoto University claimed that happiness depends on the amount of gray matter present in a certain portion of the brain.
Found within the medial parietal lobe, a section known as precuneus tends to be larger in people who feel happy. In a cross-sectional analysis conducted, researchers aim to find out link between subjective happiness and a particular brain response.
The team brain scanned 51 volunteers with an average age of 23 years. Then they were asked to complete a questionnaire determining their happiness level, reaction of various emotions and overall life satisfaction.
The NHS reports that subjective happiness was gauged in four different areas, namely, Subjective Happiness Scale, Emotional Intensity Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and, lastly, Purpose in Life Scale. Survey forms were of Japanese version and were approved for use for Japanese respondents.
Results revealed that happier people had larger gray matter in the precuneus section. Moreover, it may also be compelled by a combination of positive emotions and feeling of satisfaction, a formula that supports the existing theory of subjective well-being.
"These results indicate that the widely accepted psychological model postulating emotional and cognitive components of subjective happiness may be applicable at the level of neural structure," authors stated. The findings further suggest that performing activities that target the precuneus will foster happiness more.
"Previous structural neuroimaging studies have shown that training in psychological activities, such as meditation, changed the structure of the precuneus gray matter," Dr Wataru Sato, lead author, said. "Together with these findings, our results suggest that psychological training that effectively increases gray matter volume in the precuneus may enhance subjective happiness."
Dr Sato admitted that further research should be conducted. However, this can help others on creating psychological programs that aim to increase happiness.
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