Mistakenly Seeking Solitude
Technology allows us to bank, shop and dine without talking to another human, but what toll is this taking on our happiness? The inventor of the ATM and the Talking Heads singer David Byrne join Dr. Laurie Santos to explore the ways in which talking to strangers can bring us all genuine joy.
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Links to references from this episode:
“My brother Aaron wrote a book”
“There had been earlier attempts at automated bank machines and they’d all failed”
“Today, many of us experience what scientists call time famine.”
“People who report feeling short on time are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and less happy than people who feel like they have lots of free time.”
“We call it time affluence”
Kasser, T., & Sheldon, K. M. (2009). Time affluence as a path toward personal happiness and ethical business practice: Empirical evidence from four studies. Journal of Business Ethics, 84(2), 243-255.
“While there’s lots of work showing that we feel busier than ever before, there’s very little evidence showing that we actually are busier.”
“Take one famous study by positive psychologists Ed Diener and Marty Seligman.”
“Another study by nobel prize winning psychologist Danny Kahneman confirmed this.”
Kahneman, D., Krueger, A. B., Schkade, D. A., Schwarz, N., & Stone, A. A. (2004). A survey method for characterizing daily life experience: The day reconstruction method. Science, 306(5702), 1776-1780.
“People today report feeling lonely at double the rate they did in the 1980s.”
“Nationally in the US right now, more than 64% of college students report feeling very lonely most of the time.”
American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary Fall 2018. Silver Spring, MD: American College Health Association; 2018.
“Feeling isolated is said to be as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.”
“Nick decided to test this. He recruited passengers sharing his commute to work, dividing them up into three groups.”
“David recently authored a fantastic article for the MIT Technology Review on the hidden dangers of automation. It’s title: ‘Eliminating the Human’”
“Nick was surprised why the train company had made a decision that completely contradicted his research.”