How we view others reflects individual happiness

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

The way we describe other people is a reflection of how happy and satisfied we are with life, according to a psychologist from Wake Forest. How an individual views others says much about their own happiness and satisfaction with life.

Dustin Wood, assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest and lead author of the study found that individuals who describe others in a positive way are happier. Rating others as enthusiastic, happy, kind-hearted, courteous and capable is an indicator of the raters own mental health and happiness.

Negativity is a sign of poor mental health

Conversely, Woods says "A huge suite of negative personality traits are associated with viewing others negatively. The simple tendency to see people negatively indicates a greater likelihood of depression and various personality disorders." The findings are significant because happiness is consistently linked to better physical health. The findings suggest asking people to rate co-workers or other individuals can reveal much about negative traits of the person doing the rating.


Describing others in positive terms reflects stability

Friends, college freshmen in dormitories and fraternity and sorority members rated one another for the study. In each instance the scientists found a link between positivity and individual happiness and satisfaction in life. In a one year follow up the researchers found evidence that how we perceive others is a stable trait that did not change with time and reflects individual happiness.

What you say about others reveals much about our own personality says Wood. Individuals asked to rate friends, co-workers and acquaintances in positive terms were found to be emotionally stable, capable, kind hearted and happy. People who rated others negatively were found to have a greater likelihood of depression and personality disorders.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology doi: 10.1037/a0019390

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Updated 1/11/2015



...very informative .