What makes you ‘happy’? University experts 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 the 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 experiment aims to offer personalised tips on improving participants mental wellbeing and mental health by making 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.
It also aims to give the public the chance to take part in a scientific study.
Dr Tai said: "We know that biological, social and psychological factors play a role in mental health and wellbeing but we have little understanding of how these factors interact and lead to specific mental health problems.
"This research will help us to better understand why some people develop difficulties whilst others do not and also enable us to identify where we need to focus our efforts in developing treatments.
"We need large numbers of people to take part in this study so we have enough data to answer some complex questions."
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.”
This research will help us to better understand why some people develop difficulties whilst others do not and also enable us to identify where we need to focus our efforts in developing treatments
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 visit https://secretsofhappiness.co.uk/