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kilobug comments on Continuous Improvement - Less Wrong

16 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 January 2009 02:09AM

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Comment author: kilobug 27 October 2011 04:05:13PM *  0 points [-]

I didn't except that much of happiness to be "hardcoded" in genetics. Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill gives a 50% instead of 80% genetically part, but that's still much more than I though before. sound of brain updating its belief network, or at least trying to

But there is a gap between perceived long-term "background" happiness, and actually perceived instantaneous happiness. Humans are bad at unconsciously integrating. I'm pretty sure that if you asked every 5 minutes for a month to someone "right now, what is your happiness ?" (or more realistically measuring the happiness every 5 minutes with a small device carried by the person) and then ask to the person at the end of the month "rate your happiness this last month", the two results will be quite different.

The "background" happiness (how happy you feel overall this last month) seems harder to change through environmental change than the instantaneous happiness (how happy you feel right now). Which seems quite coherent with the fact that background happiness can be changed by events affecting your life - but not for long. Events affecting your life change your instantaneous happiness of each instant, but after a while your re-normalize your background happiness feeling level to the hardcoded level. Or it could be that, in fact, the effect on your instantaneous happiness of each instant goes decreasing. I suspect a bit of both, now, in which proportion ? I fear we'll have to wait for a real-time happiness meter to be put on identical twins to know for sure.