Can a Lottery Win Buy Happiness? - as part of the news and politics series by GeoBeats.
What would you do if you won a lottery? That was a common question in stores, bars, and homes across America during the $650 million lottery frenzy.
A lottery has a universal appeal because it seems to be the easiest way to achieve our dreams - winning promises unlimited freedom and happiness ever after. But many research studies and interviews with past lottery winners presents a decidedly mixed picture.
Certainly, there are many benefits - you can help family with loans, buy homes, cars, go on vacations but a research study done by Emory University suggests that people get less satisfaction out of the rewards they haven't worked for.
Then there are the additional issues that lottery winners face like lawsuit threats, relatives asking for money and predators. In a CNN report, a state lottery winner, who did not want to be identified remarked "Sometimes I wish I could change my name and go somewhere and hide,"
A fascinating 1978 study by Northwestern and University of Massachusetts, as reported by The New Republic, reveals that winners just get used to more money after a while and what's particularly interesting is that they enjoy routine activities like watching tv and talking to people less than the non-winners.
A Wall Street Journal article notes that a University of California study found that lottery winners had higher happiness levels immediately after but then reverted to their pre-win baseline after some months. And this observation seems to be consistent with multiple research studies that suggest we all have a baseline happiness level which we eventually get back to after experiencing temporary happiness spikes or drops due to positive or negative events.
So what do you think - will you be more or less happy a year or two after winning a lottery?