A new study published in March’s issue of Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6227/1243.short) suggests that our political views and happiness are linked. Interestingly, the researchers found that people who lean conservative tend to report greater levels of life satisfaction/happiness when asked directly, while those who lean liberal behave in ways that suggest that they are happier (for instance, have more positive posts on social media and display more genuine smiles in photographs).
Why might this be – differences in how people wish to present themselves to others, differences in definitions of happiness, differences in political ideology or…? The research is too new to answer that question conclusively, but the results point to the difficulty of defining happiness for different individuals and the importance of using multiple sources of data to draw conclusions. So who is really happier, your or your differently politically inclined father-in-law? Unfortunately, no one can claim full bragging rights yet, but perhaps the article will bring up some interesting dinner conversation!