Meaningful Conversations and Happiness
Researchers at the University of Arizona and Washington University in St. Louis used unobtrusive recording devices to track the conversations of 79 undergraduate students over the course of four days. They then counted the conversations and determined how many were superficial versus substantive, based on whether the information exchanged was banal (“What do you have there? Pop corn?”) or meaningful (“She fell in love with your dad? So, did they get divorced soon after?”). They also assessed subjects’ overall well-being by having them fill out question naires and by asking their friends to report on how happy and content with life they seemed.