Will wonders never cease? Humans prefer having sex and getting drunk to doing housework and commuting to work, a new study finds.
Researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand conducted the study using text messaging to collect data on what people did during their average day and how they felt about each activity. “I texted people three times a day over a week and the response rate was really high. People are never far from their cell phones these days,” explained Carsten Grimm, a postgraduate psychology researcher leading the project. “People replied to on average 97% of all text messages, and texts were sent at random times, so there is a really rich sample of everyday life to look at.”
“Having sex is (no surprise) highest on all measures of happiness,” said Grimm. “Going to lectures, or studying, is low on pleasure and happiness, but ranks relatively high on meaning (seventh out of 30 behavior categories).”
Grimm had survey participants rank 30 activities on three criteria: whether it brought them pleasure, how engaged they were with the activity and whether it brought them overall happiness. Unsurprisingly, having sex took first place in all categories.
Among other results, partying and drinking alcohol placed second overall, followed by religious activities and playing with children. Paid work placed 24th overall, just ahead of going to class but well behind washing-cleaning-grooming at 21st.
According to the University of Canterbury, the field of happiness research is booming, as governments and institutions have become more interested in how to track and measure happiness.
“So far, governments around the world and media have focused mainly on life satisfaction in the discussion about well-being,” Grimm continued. “It turns out happiness is a far more complicated topic.”
The most shocking conclusion from Grimm’s study: doing housework brought people more pleasure than going on Facebook.