Arts and Culture
5:00 am
Tue January 22, 2013

UT Prof Works to Define Elusive Concept of Happiness

KUT's Jennifer Stayton speaks with McCombs Marketing Professor Raj Raghunathan about his research into the definition of happiness.

We all think we know what happy means. But when you get down to it, how would we actually define it? Raj Raghunathan has tried. He teaches marketing at UT’s McCombs School of Business. He studies, among other things, consumer behavior, decision theory, and happiness. Raghunathan says different people define happiness differently, but a couple of traits are universal. It’s a positive emotion, and we want to experience it. But, he says, pursuing society’s most common markers of happiness won’t actually get us there.

So then what does define happiness? Raghunathan says it’s really a pretty simple formula that includes learning not to worry about controlling others or their environment, but rather focusing inward. And, he advises not chasing happiness too intently. Otherwise, Raghunathan says, you’ll always feel like you’re coming up short.

Click on the player on this page to hear more from Dr. Raj Raghunathan about happiness.