December 6, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

What do we know about happiness? This week's image reveals a clue in the quest for happiness.

MRI

Researchers at the Kyoto University, Japan, have found where happiness lies!
Well, at least from a neurological perspective.

This week’s image is a colourful MRI scan displaying the spectrum of happiness; found within the neural mechanisms of the research participants who took part in the Kyoto study. Researchers discovered that participants who scored highest in happiness surveys exhibited a greater mass of grey matter in the precuneus, a region in the medial parietal lobe.

So what leads to this physical manifestation of happiness? The team at Kyoto were able to link a larger precuneus to those who were generally more satisfied, and able to find more meaning in life. Interestingly, these people who felt happiness most intensely, and therefore had a larger precuneus, also experienced sadness less intensely.
Looks like positivity is more than just a perspective.

Eva Spielvogel is studying for an MSc in Science Communication