In an earlier post I described enhancing well-being as one of the grand challenges of cognitive design. I received emails and comments asking for more detail. Fortunately, the Society of Personality and Social Psychology just held an annual meeting that highlighted some relevant findings. Researchers reported on several surprising connections between actions and well-being including:
* Getting a good night sleep enhances our ability to feel gratitude and other prosocial emotions which is essential for well-being.
* Spending money on others or even giving money (and time away) enhance our sense of wealth and contributes to a sense of well-being.
* Buying experiences (e.g. going to a concert) rather than something material (e.g. a new shirt) and telling stories about it enhances our sense of well-being.
Designs that maximize the psychological effects of being well-rested, generate a wealth effect from giving, and help us savor experiential purchases are examples of some of the cognitive effects we can consider when designing for well-being. Once we reach a basic level of health, wealth and happiness further enhancing well-being requires some real insight into how minds actually work.