A new research tool developed by an interdisciplinary team of psychologists and economists could help social scientists more accurately evaluate how well individuals and society are faring. The method offers a new way to characterize the daily life experience of individuals, aimed at providing a measure that could be used in assessing social interventions, including clinical trials. Its developers are working on a way to use the method in calculating a "National Well-Being Account," to provide a broad measure of the well-being of people of all ages, akin to the economic measure Gross Domestic Product.
The tool, called the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM), assesses how people spend their time and how they feel about, or experience, activities throughout a given day. In a trial of the new technique, a group of women rated the psychological and social aspects of a number of daily activities. Among these women, relaxing with friends was one of the most enjoyable activities, and the least enjoyable was commuting.
DRM is described by Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D., a professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, and colleagues in the December 3, 2004, issue of Science. Dr. Kahneman was joined in this study by his Princeton University colleague, economist Alan B. Krueger, and psychologists David A. Schkade of the University of California, San Diego, Norbert Schwarz of the University of Michigan, and Arthur A. Stone of Stony Brook University.
Doug Dollemore | EurekAlert!
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