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The Life Project: British cohort study turns 70 (theguardian.com)
126 points by bootload on Feb 29, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments

Apropos of the title, Dennis Prager's ''Happiness Is a Serious Problem'' (http://fave.co/1LPTkKH) is the best book I read in 2015. It was published almost 20 years ago but I think it might be even more relevant in today's pursuit of happiness obsessed world. It helped me understand why I have trouble feeling ''happy'' and why that is OK.

Best, and most scientific [0] book in this regard: "the emotional life of your brain" by Richard J. Davidson.

One of the TLDR: the feeling of being happy and being sad are not the same brain-function with a sign reversed. Just because you're not happy doesn't imply you are sad and vice versa, just because you're not sad doesn't imply you're happy.

You have to train not-being-sad and being-happy independently!

[0] every hypothesis was experimentally tested!

Great discussion of the cohort studies in the UK, and what results are coming out from the late 40s, 80s, and Millennial cohorts.

If you haven't seen the Up Series, it is a documentary series about 14 children that were selected from different social classes in the UK. Each episode is seven years apart. It has had eight episodes.

56 Up was the first one I had seen. And it really does give you a sense of mortality and how quick life's years can go by, in a blur of routine.


The total running time of the entire documentary is 769 minutes.

There are 29.453.760 minutes in 56 years. There were 14 people, for a total of 412.352.640 minutes of lifetime.

That a speed up factor of 536.219. It seems like any biological system sped up 500k times it's normal rate is going to give a sense of mortality.

Thanks for your very sensible explanation - I'm going to have to borrow for next time a non-techie friend of mine says something about a film that covers a person's life (so I get an expected eye roll or worse).

Reminds me of a guy who shot 1 second every day for a year to make a video. He ended up on Ted's main stage and ended up making an app.


Data from these studies are publicly accessible. The CLOSER project is working on documenting all the data and questionnaires that are part of the eight major UK cohort studies:

Main: http://www.closer.ac.uk/

Data: http://www.closer.ac.uk/data-resources/access-data/

Edit: link more directly to data access page.

I agree but the title is quite misleading and has a clickbaity sound to it.

Ok, we changed the title. If someone suggests a better one, we can change it again.

Yes, I also think that "title is quite misleading". I expect something else.

"Just last year, scientists compared the way that people in all five generations have gained weight during their lives. This study was gargantuan."

Subtle British humour. The article is full of stuff like this. Just trying to help those who don't get it, or don't understand where the "happy" is found from the title.

The title is misleading, but it was one of the best articles I've read recently. It is an impressive project that influenced multiple public policies in a whole country. It is Science at its best.

Here is the review of a book on the subject: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/feb/28/the-life-pro...

In this kind stuff, there is positive psychology:


Human sciences lack of a shared model (like in physics). Most studies remain separated and become dead branches. It's a bit sad.

> Most studies remain separated and become dead branches. It's a bit sad.

I have a hard time believing this is much different in Psychology compared to other disciplines. What are you basing this on?

I'm not a specialist at all. I know a bit Carl Rogers thinking and random stuff in sociology.


I know they use different models. Some models can be common across multiple disciplines (like psychology and sociology).

Biology is probably the smallest denominator.

This article didn't touch on the happiness of those studied at all.

Well... they don't say what makes some people happy...

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