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Quantifying happiness: Reviewing the Harvard study of adult development

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documents in English
term papers
2 pages
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  1. Introduction
  2. The longitudinal method observing a selected group of Harvard men
  3. Selecting candidates for the study
  4. Limitations on the study
  5. Contribution to behavioral science
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

The ancient Greeks were the first to philosophically study the good life, for example, the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus, but the topic was also treated in other historical and cultural sources as well. In the Levant, the ancient Hebrews received the Torah (or the Book) from a series of divinely inspired prophets, originating with Moses, detailing the rules and the laws which were necessary to live a moral and happy existence pleasing to God. Ethics, that is, the study of the good life, happiness, and suffering, has been the cornerstone of Western philosophy and theology for thousands of years with its roots in the ancient world; however, in the modern age, psychiatry and social science have emerged to present quantifiable research as the descriptive alternative to speculation and religion. Since 1937, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has been occupied with collecting physical data to attempt to prove the hypothesis of what constitutes a happy and well-adjusted adult male. The purpose of this paper is to provide a short, non-exhaustive summary and criticism of the methods employed in the Harvard Study of Adult Development.

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