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Canterbury University's shock facts about sex and partying

Sex and drinking alcohol are most likely to make people happy, University of Canterbury research shows.

And while that may not come as a surprise to folk, postgraduate psychology researcher Carsten Grimm went the extra mile to find out what contributes most to happiness.

He used cellphone text messaging to collect data on what people did during the day and how they felt about it.

Thirty activities were ranked by pleasure, meaning and engagement.

The average of those three scores resulted in the overall happiness ranking.

Unsurprisingly, sex topped the list in all categories, followed by drinking alcohol/partying.

But while partying came second in terms of pleasure, it was ranked 10th in meaning.

Other activities in the top 10 were volunteering, looking after children, socialising, hobbies and shopping.

Also not surprising was that sickness was ranked last in terms of pleasure and overall happiness.

For meaning, however, Facebook was at the bottom of the list. 

The full results:

 

Behaviour

Pleasure

Meaning

Engagement

Happiness

Sex

1st

1st

1st

1st

Partying

2nd

10th

5th

2nd

Care-giving

9th

3rd

6th

3rd

Meditating

8th

2nd

7th

4th

Childcare

10th

4th

11th

5th

Listening to music

3rd

17th

13th

6th

Socialising

5th

11th

10th

7th

Hobbies

4th

5th

4th

8th

Shopping

15th

16th

16th

9th

Gaming

6th

24th

9th

10th

 Lower-ranked

 

 

 

 

Grooming

22nd

29th

30th

21st

Internet

20th

28th

21st

22nd

Commuting

27th

23rd

29th

23rd

Paid work

26th

15th

17th

24th

Lectures

23rd

8th

15th

25th

Texting

21st

18th

18th

26th

Studying

28th

7th

14th

27th

Housework

29th

27th

27th

28th

Facebook

24th

30th

28th

29th

Sick

30th

25th

25th

30th

 

More by Caleb Allison

Comments and questions

It really doesn't take much to figure those things out - I don't know why this researcher went into this topic....who really cares? People individually know what makes them happy. Does he really think that people are going to read this and change the way they live their lives? Because the answer is they are not going to listen to some person who is probably jumping around in their seat now because their pointless research has been 'published'.

Well, some hardcore religious teens may well re-think their abstinence till marriage stance, which is probably not a bad thing.

Happy but for how long? Love to know the enduring happiness stats. plus ages surveyed.

Or it could be the long term happiness derived from sex with only one person within a marital (or similar) relationship beats multiple partners and multiple temporary relationships.

Sadly, we're in a world where the regulators love to insist that people don't enjoy partying and drinking, and consequently banning alcohol only reduces the costs of alcohol without impinging on anybody's fun (because by their definition alcohol can't lead to fun).

I'd be interested to see the who the sample of text message data was from. Also people tend to talk up their sex lives/partying/drinking to their friends, hence via a communications network it seems pretty standard they they would come out on top. But even though I text my friends to say I went to an awesome party on Saturday night it wasn't the thing that made me happiest this week. I just don't text people to tell them how nice it was to chat to my gran, and that my boyfriend is amazing.

Here here! And that's very nice too, the things that make you happy (like family, relationships etc). I think this research is very party-boi biased. Partying is a very transitory happiness, and maybe for people with less going on in their lives. What about job satisfaction, feelings of self-worth?

And clearly this researcher hasn't heard about the term "walk of shame".

Has Whale Oil taken the helm at Truth or NBR?

#3 Jessica - Agree, the sample size looks pretty small, under 200 people! And being a Canterbury University 'Researcher' one can pretty accurately assume most of the sample would be university students. Epic Fail. Waste of Time. Thinks he is smart and he is not!

I notice the lack of excercising...

Errr.... sex is exercise.....(if you do it like you mean it Marky)

What a load of bollocks

Does this person actually get paid for this research? . I think he/she confuses pleasure with happiness. Two entirely different things. When making this type of research one needs to consider the long term effects of a life of partying and sex as a goal in itself and the goal of making one's life count for something as a human being in a world such as ours. If the conclusions of this researcher are accurate then one can only say God help us for the future of the human race.

And "research" like this is exactly why we need more Engineers and scientists rather than social policy wonks with BA's...

You want fries with that?

No, it's why social policy and research needs to be motivated by meaningful questions and problems rather than dominated by professional academic and commercial interests. Its painfully obvious that science and technology do not automatically create happiness and well-being, but often the reverse.

It might mean something if age and gender were sampled.

Most interesting is the low rank of texting and facebook. Of course any conclusion based on text messages as primary form of data has to be thoroughly suspect.

Well duh. Who knew sex was fun? And partying?

Man, I've got to start doing some of these things for fun. Usually I file my tax returns and mow the lawn when I want to let loose, but thanks to this groundbreaking research, I've found new ways to be happy!

(actually, sarcasm makes me happy. Maybe they could measure that?)

Isn't the sample already skewed by people who use texts a lot?

Personally I don't text like crazy; I'd put sex near the top, but I'd put drinking pretty low on the scale, I'd put a good workout above a party any day.

Meanwhile, text-crazy, partying teenyboppers...

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