What size diamond ring provides the most happiness?
One that is bigger than everyone else’s.
When Hsee and his colleagues examined predicted happiness ratings, they found that only relative diamond size mattered. Within each group, the person with the larger diamond was happier. Participants within groups could compare their diamonds with each other and as a result based their happiness on their relative standing within groups. However, there was no average difference in happiness between the poor and rich groups. Even though those in the rich group had larger diamonds, they were no happier than those in the poor group. So for diamonds, it appears happiness depends on comparison, not on absolute size.
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