One of my go-to podcasts is Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, a weekly show discussing the week’s news with three comedians. Paula Poundstone is one of the best comedians on the show; she’s goofy and always has hilarious, random comments. She started a new podcast, Live from the Poundstone Institute, where they talk about various studies, including inviting the researchers to explain the results and how the study was conducted. I listened to an episode while traveling in Costa Rica and one of the studies was about how when you talk to a stranger, it makes you happier. As a millennial (barely, like 5%) and yogi, I’m always on the pursuit for happiness, so I was instantly intrigued by this study. The researcher in charge explained that they had three groups:
- they were told to do what they normally do on the train (which, in this day and age, is probably listen to podcasts and music with headphones in, and not talk to anyone) aka the control group
- they were told explicitly not to talk to anyone
- this group was told to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to them on the train.
The conclusion of the study was that the group who talked with strangers was happier than the other people.