What makes you ‘happy’? University professors to lead on new citizen science test

A University of Liverpool psychology professor, Peter Kinderman, in collaboration with Dr Sara Tai at the University of Manchester and BBC’s Tomorrow’s World Campaign, is running a citizen science test that lets people find out what may be affecting their happiness levels, and what they can do to boost them.

The ‘Secrets of Happiness’ is an online test that can be found here that takes about 20 minutes and takes people through a series of questionnaires. The data entered will help inform important psychology research questions led by Professor Kinderman and Dr Tai. Their research question driving the whole experiment is whether our thinking style – the way we interpret events in our life – influences our risk of developing mental health problems.

The ‘Secrets of Happiness’ experiment aims to do two things. Firstly, it offers everyone personalised tips on improving their mental wellbeing and mental health. We can’t all land our dream job or win the lottery; but we can make small changes that psychologists believe can improve the quality of our everyday life. Research evidence suggests that there are simple approaches, which can make us – and keep us – feeling happier.

Secondly, the ‘Secrets of Happiness’ experiment gives you the chance to take part in a real scientific study.

Professor Kinderman, said: “Mental health is very complicated, with many factors contributing to how we feel. If we want to better understand how these different factors are related, then data, which from thousands of people is needed.

“By taking part, you will help us to gather data that would be hard to get in other ways that will ultimately help us to improve approaches to mental health in the future. All data is stored securely and anonymously.”

Peter Harvey, BBC Producer on the project, said: “The BBC has run a number of citizen science experiments in the past. But this is the first we’ve attempted in the ‘smartphone’ era. We’re also inviting people to submit data twice, separated by six weeks.

“Gathering two data sets from the same participant, many weeks apart, is of enormous value to scientists. We’re interested to see how many people will complete the second phase, and how effective our reminder methods are at getting people to return.”

For more information please visit https://secretsofhappiness.co.uk/

To find out more about studying Psychology at the University of Liverpool please click here.

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