A Silver Lining
Ice skater Michelle Kwan was all set to win Olympic Gold... but in a major sporting upset she came second. Sharing her story with Dr. Laurie Santos, Michelle lets us in on a key secret to achieving happiness when you’re tempted to feel like a loser.
To learn more. . .
Links to references from this episode:
“But on that podium in London, just for a second, McKayla’s face told another story.”
“Back in 1992, Tom embarked on one of my favourite ever studies in the field of happiness research.”
“During the 2004 Athens Games Professor David Matsumoto of San Francisco State teamed up with a martial arts journalist Bob Willingham to examine the happiness of the judo medalists.”
• A short citation:
Matsumoto, D., & Willingham, B. (2006). The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat: spontaneous expressions of medal winners of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Journal of personality and social psychology, 91(3), 568.
• The report:
• Further details on Dr. Matsumoto's research:
“Back in 2003, Andrew Clark, a professor at the Paris School for Economics, studied well-being in the UK across different kinds of labor markets.”
“Sara Solnick and David Hemenway, who ran the original study, asked a whole list of similar questions about other kinds of achievements.”
“In 2005, Peter Kuhn, an economist at UC Santa Barbara, teamed up with colleagues to test what one Dutch household winning the prize does to material consumption in the rest of the community.”
Kuhn, P., Kooreman, P., Soetevent, A., & Kapteyn, A. (2011). The effects of lottery prizes on winners and their neighbors: Evidence from the Dutch postcode lottery. American Economic Review, 101(5), 2226-47.
“Tom has studied one other area in which many of us do this all the time. When we think of how good our social lives are.”
“The first strategy Michelle used is what researchers call negative visualization— the act of wondering what things would be like if the good events in our life never happened.”
• For example, see:
Koo, M., Algoe, S. B., Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2008). It's a wonderful life: mentally subtracting positive events improves people's affective states, contrary to their affective forecasts. Journal of personality and social psychology, 95(5), 1217.
• For the ancient roots of negative visualization, see:
“In fact, one study has even shown that silver winners more likely to die younger than those who win bronze or gold.”