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An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness

September 8, 2019

Participant 1: Shut up [laughs]
Participant 2: What? Wait, wait. Participant 3: Oh he’s gonna be so embarrassed. [title music] Julian Huguet: What makes you happy?
Having fun? Hanging out with friends?
Delicious food? Making money?
Well consider this. Psychologists have scientifically proven that one of the greatest contributing
factors to overall happiness in your life is how much gratitude you show.
Yup. Think about that. Go ahead and marinate on that for a second.
You can thank me later if you want. It will make you feel better according to
this study. You go ahead and click on it and read it if
you want. Or, you can keep watching because we read
it, we thought it might be fun to test out for ourselves.
We gathered a selection of volunteers to act as our subjects.
First we gave them a test. They didn’t know what we were looking for.
But they gave us a pretty good idea of their current level of happiness.
We asked them to close their eyes and think of somebody who was really influential in
their life. Somebody who did something really amazing
or important for them. We had them write down as much as they could
about why this person was so important. Now a lot of them thought at this point the
experiment was over until we really put them on the spot and tried to get them to call
that person and read what they wrote about them.
Thank you Jessica. We are going to have to have you call your mother.
So who was that right person for you? Participant 1: The person is my sister Erica.
JH: We’re gonna give Erica a call. Participant 1: [laughs] Okay.
JH: Who’d you end up picking? Participant 3: Friend of mine, Greg Haines.
Participant 4: Her name is Dora. Participant 5: My college accounting instructor.
JH: Really! Is this someone you’re still in touch with today?
P 5: No I’m assuming that he is passed on. JH: That’s a shame.
P5: To the great beyond. JH: You up for it?
P3: Um, uh yes. JH: What would you say if we called up Dora?
P4: We can try but she lives in Britain. JH: In Britain?
P2: I don’t know her number by heart, this is awful.
JH: That’s fine, I don’t know my mom’s phone number by heart.
P5: If it’s true that those who are gone on are looking down on us, maybe he’ll recognize
he is great. [on phone]: Hi sweetheart!
P2: Hey how you doing. Um you gotta second? Where you at, the hotel?
[phone]: I am, I’m in the hotel. You scared me when you asked if I had a second, I thought
something was wrong P2: No I’m on this little TV show and they
told me to talk about the person that influenced me the most, and I picked you and they’re
making me call, they’re making me call you. [phone]: Oh wonderful!
[phone dialing] [voicemail] [phone dialing] P1: Oh come on.
[phone]: Hello? P1: Hi! Erica, it’s me.
P2: Alright so I gotta read you this paragraph, can you hear me?
[phone]: Yes I can. Go ahead sweetheart. P2: Alright. The person that influenced me
the most would be my mother, Marlow Dawson. She is a single mother of two, she is a very
hard-worker and dedicated to her family. P3: Hey Craig, this is Lowy. Um, this is gonna
be a funny little voicemail so I hope you enjoy it.
P4: I’m so sorry for calling you at 4 o’clock in the morning!
P1: I have to read this to you okay? You can’t say anything or I don’t know. You can respond
but, I probably will just keep going [laughs] okay?
[phone]: Is everything okay? P1: Yes! But I have to read this out loud
to you. P5: The person who has had the biggest impact
on my life, outside of Jesus Christ who is responsible for my existence, was my college
accounting instructor. He had a joy and enthusiasm for his job like no other teacher I have ever
known. P2: I love her to death, and she keeps me
going with positive talk, she is a woman that knows what she wants and won’t give up until
it is achieved. [phone]: Oh pumpkin, I don’t know what to,
I’m about to cry because that’s so beautiful. I have to say that’s just wonderful.
P3: I first met Craig on an independent feature film set in Whitefish, Montana. I recently
have been sending Craig a lot of positive thoughts as he suffered a series of health
problems. Despite his medical problems, he’s continued to work and take pleasure in the
small things in life like sitting quietly with his wife Jeanine on the porch.
P1: Erica is my older sister and my best friend. Sometimes it even feels like we are twins!
She is my number one fan and my number one supporter. She makes me happy because despite
all my mistakes and my decisions, she still loves me no matter what.
P4: Your friendship is everything. And you are one of the most important person in my
life. P1: Even when she has a kid and many children
I will love her more than her kids! Okay, maybe not. I will never forget when she flew
3000 miles at the drop of a phone call to save me from a break-up.
[phone]: I’m being blessed by having a son like you. I love you.
P3: Bye! [phone]: Why did you do this to me?
P1: [laughs] I don’t know because they made me do it!
P4: Thank you for picking up, bye sweetie! P1: And then they’re like here you’re gonna
write this letter and then I wrote like this whole long-ass letter which you know I don’t
write. And then all of a sudden they’re like “hey guess what you’re gonna call her and
you’re gonna read her this letter and it was like what the [expletive] [laughs]. JH: Before we let them go we gave our subjects one more happiness test. Now we mixed up and
rephrased the questions so they didn’t know they were taking the same test twice. For
those who took the time to actually write something down but couldn’t make the phone
call for whatever reason we saw happiness increase between 2 and 4 percent. Good, but
not exactly mind-blowing. Now for those who actually picked up the phone and personally
expressed their gratitude, we saw increases between 4 and 19 percent. So either way! Expressing
your gratitude will making you a happier person. But you want to know something really interesting?
The person who experienced the biggest jump in happiness was the least happy person who
walked in the door. What does that mean? That means if you’re having a particularly tough
time, trying this out will more likely have a greater impact on you. Trust me! I’m in
a lab coat. In fact, while you’re at it, film it and upload it to us and we’ll do something
awesome with it. I’m Julian and this has been The Science of Happiness. SoulPancake


  • Reply Cookie Monster November 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….
    (now i feel better indeed)

  • Reply Tauney Elysia November 25, 2018 at 10:59 am

    I've been doing a gratitude challenge for 2 months. Write 3 things you are grateful for. Even if your upset. Everyday. Even small things. It has made me more aware of this short life and seriously more grateful than I have ever been. It takes less than 5 minutes and gives you more perspective. And made me around 70-80% better mood, wiser, it is awesome. And thank you ♡

  • Reply Jack Shennan November 25, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Also, gratitude to oneself. Find a mirror, smile at yourself until you think you're stupid, then thank that you for smiling at yourself. This process hacked for the solo flier.

  • Reply Atiquah Quah December 10, 2018 at 4:44 am

    Just because someone says I'm a doctor, or trust me or scientists have proven- it doesn't make it prove a point until there's evidence for it.

  • Reply Dakota Moon January 4, 2019 at 4:54 am

    This is the best part about Gratitude

  • Reply Kirsten Allen January 5, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Watching this made me happy

  • Reply Sarah S January 6, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    I thought of a boy I was in class with. Then he said they should call this person… Well I would not be able to do it bc he's already dead..😔

  • Reply MemesOrSomething January 10, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    thank you Julian, very cool

  • Reply Loria Raiola January 11, 2019 at 3:10 am

    I loved that video #heartwarming

  • Reply Ramon Davi January 17, 2019 at 12:56 am

    It would be amazing to listen what the man would say to the accounting teacher.

  • Reply Chaos Seeker January 18, 2019 at 6:39 am

    Who else thinks that scientist looks like a human version of Wheatley from Portal 2?

  • Reply Kristin Blomert January 28, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    I love this video….however because of the two cusses near the end….I can't show it to my students which makes me really sad….if they covered her mouth for both and not just the sound of one I would…. things to consider SoulPancake ! Great video.

  • Reply Marquis de Hoto February 8, 2019 at 9:25 am

    I hope they know how lucky they are to have that person still around!

  • Reply em11111 February 13, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    I tried to click on the study and there is no link. Please provide the link!

  • Reply cheristar February 19, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    I'm so thankful for my family.

  • Reply Lori Walker March 1, 2019 at 3:24 am

    IS there any chance there is a version of this video without the 2 curse words? I would like to show this to my students, but I need it to not have the curse words.

  • Reply MeeshaKeena K March 4, 2019 at 4:03 am

    It's great for adults. I wanted to share it in my classroom but they don't bleep out the word "ass" at 5:19 which is a shame =( It could be useful in grade level classrooms. If you remake this please let me know….. sorry it can't be on my list.

  • Reply Gabriel Porras March 4, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Which is the study? The CLICK HERE to read the study doesn't work.

  • Reply nicole March 13, 2019 at 7:10 am

    wow i love this channel

  • Reply Hillary Bakulu March 19, 2019 at 9:57 am


  • Reply fish wale April 2, 2019 at 1:39 am

    Thank you soul pancake you have be my beng each you for about 2 miners now and love you

  • Reply studybug2010 April 3, 2019 at 12:39 am

    2:05….she says hey sweetheart right after the she know it was him?

  • Reply Johnny English, PhD April 16, 2019 at 9:48 am

    So how did you record and analyse the biochemical activity of the brain's reward system?

  • Reply Mica Ellis April 16, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    I truly enjoyed watching this video, and plan to share with my department. I think this would be a great exercise for us all! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply AustinDoggie April 23, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    I'll trust anyone in a lab coat

  • Reply Ethan Josh Logronio May 20, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    i sucked someone's toe and they were really happy. from 2% to 100%

  • Reply Inspired Life May 25, 2019 at 6:39 am

    Gratitude is a key recipe for happiness. Find something simple everyday to be thankful for.

  • Reply Brew Edits May 26, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    Who else’s teacher played this in class smh 😂

  • Reply Rosanna Polo June 3, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    One day I Tried to do this exercise on a workshop about happiness at work and nobody wanted to do it. Nobody wanted to make the call. It was very disappointed to me as relator. Could you recommend me a way to ask people do this without they feel uncomfortable?

  • Reply Himal_ayas June 10, 2019 at 11:35 am

    This made me happy :))

  • Reply Sumerian June 11, 2019 at 2:41 am

    History's subject makes me the happiest person ever alive!

  • Reply Sumerian June 11, 2019 at 2:44 am

    Can I like it thrice?

  • Reply Jacob Heath June 26, 2019 at 9:52 am

    'Hey Sweetheart' … wow so this was not staged at all…

  • Reply 名誉 ために日本人天の祖先天 July 2, 2019 at 12:16 am

    I am grateful that I am a kid

  • Reply Deekshith Juvvadi July 7, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Julian.. you're awesome buddy 🙂 This video is just too beautiful!

    Whenever I'm having a hard time starting my daily gratitude practice.. I watch this video.. and I have tears of joy every single time after watching it.. and it makes it easier to go ahead with my gratitude practice.. 🙂

    You guys are doing great! 🙂 Keep rocking! 🙂

  • Reply Pati Carr July 14, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Wow – tears are flowing. i dont know why but they are – I love to see people experience happiness i guess. Love this

  • Reply The Simple Sober Life August 10, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Makes me stop and think about who not what I am grateful for in my life. I find it easy to find gratitude in life when I am in a good mood but have a difficult time finding it when I am feeling frustrated or angry.

  • Reply veranya2074 August 26, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Yes it is. Even if u are grateful for can breathing easily you could be happy.

  • Reply Christine Farr August 30, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    There appear to be an unanswered question in this science experiment – an explanation of the measure used to determine level of happiness? How was this done?

  • Reply 名誉 ために日本人天の祖先天 September 4, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    I am grateful for the green grass and the blue sky. I am grateful to be free and have no major obligations right now. I am grateful for the kindness and wisdom of those around me, and their efforts to sustain and promote goodness in the world.

    When my way of life yields its unique jewel, either in meditation, in amidst the flow of every day life, its jewel being the lotus flower of satori, there is no expression suitable for the thanks that my soul has.

    What has made me flexible and relaxed all these years is that simple insight, or satori, of true emptiness. What has allowed me to sustain my beginner's mind and beginner's heart is the mathematical truth that there is simply none.

    Starting from that point, I am able to extricate myself from a mind that flows like a river, from illusion to illusion, I am able to effect reality and truly live because it does not bind me as an absolute. Like watching a graph or matrix, I am aware of the eternal cosmic emptiness in it all, rather than only of the binary input information.

    Paradoxically, there are ways to strengthen our root to this liberating and infinite emptiness (which is akin to energy) one being the act of writing and attempting to reflect it in poignant words such as sutras.

    Each time I awaken to the truth, then express it, I am fastening it to a world that will otherwise be unconscious of itself. Therefore I am thankful for language because it serves as a doorway to freedom. The more clear reflection of reality, the less pain because the true possibility remains apparent. The energy is free, not blocked by the mind's games.

    Emptiness reflects fullness.


    I am grateful for the power of thought vibration. As I go to school, the thoughts uplift me, I realize there is a deeper truth than I initially expected within it all. I feel, in the intellectual thoughts a satori based not in mere survival but actual transcendence.

    Nodo – throat in nihongo


    I see a fair world, a balanced world (almost surrealistically so, as if it were an intended depiction of balance in everything – LOGOS EROS) of mathematical virtue. A world whose ultimate essence is 0, and yet play.


    It is not that which you see, it is that which you say; the flexibility of true zero is such.

    With the realization that this is a grid, and that our existence within it is merely a code not necessarily ultimate truth, we come to the wonder of gift of language. Its perhaps not the terms themselves but the context of the terms, what we are using them to describe.

    The experience of a school, and a fairly basic one at that is what seems truly alive, while almost everything else is only halfway conscious. Could it be that the terms are describing a school?

    A school that can only be activated by communication and not by pure learning itself for the sake of outward awards.

    Suddenly there's no limit to what is possible, with the clarification that there is no real physical component to this.

    When it becomes about communicating with the world around you and even manifesting the greatest potential out of what can rightly be called even mathematically illusion, it becomes directly relevant to ones life.

    The most basic skill, not compartmentalizing everything

    Black and white
    Young old
    Male female
    Spring summer winter fall

    If the math is showing you that really it is nothing, you begin to recieve zen.

    You are not 'gaijin', you are not gauging. You are purely experiencing.

    At first it seems like merely using a discordant label, you have called it purple when really it is teal, later however, when the initial impulse to immediately label and clamp everything down dissipates you begin to see new colors you never experienced before.

    Then you have Japanese or hebrew (haskalah); languages that are designed as doorways back to the unconditioned mind, the place within is that is always new undesecrated and 'holy', set aside from the mundane world that is entirely grid based.

    It's one thing to know it mentally and another to root it as a reflection of the truth of consciousness in written communication in the world.

    In this practice, we are in effect being our most effective in our lives and rooting everything directly to the best and most sublime even when that seems paradoxical (the best is few and the common many, right? But if we are able to transcend our own graphs and limits each day, or however often we like, without destroying the system itself, simply allowing it doorways in and out for each priceless soul within it to breathe in effect we realize that even those best things actually are available to us all, though physically we cant understand how.)

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