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Wellbeing Seminar Series

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Organised by Professors Paul Frijters, Richard Layard and Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve

Unless stated otherwise, seminars are held on Thursdays from 1:00pm - 2:15pm

Seminars are free and open to all - there is no need to register.

The CEP Wellbeing Programme holds regular seminars in its Enjoyment of Life series. The aim is to foster an interdisciplinary debate involving economists, psychologists, other social scientists, epidemiologists and clinical scientists to evaluate the strength of evidence linking wellbeing, biology, and health, the suitability of different research paradigms, and the social and health implications of this work. Each seminar will consist of a research presentation followed by discussion, with refreshments. [Past seminars]
All seminars, unless otherwise stated, will be held at CEP, 2nd floor meeting room (2.04), 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2A 3PH. If you are an external visitor to LSE, please bring a copy of the email reminder with you.

For any enquiries, please contact Tajender Sagoo, either by email: t.sagoo@lse.ac.uk or telephone: +44(0)20 7955 6648

Thursday  11 October 2018  13:00 - 14:15

Stress on the Sidewalk: The Mental Health Costs of Close Proximity Crime

Panka Bencsik (Sussex)

32L 2.04, 2nd Floor Conference Room, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH
Thursday  18 October 2018  13:00 - 14:15

Quantifying the Connection between Scenic Beauty and Wellbeing

Chanuki Seresinhe (Warwick)

Intuitively, we often seek out beautiful scenery when we want a respite from our busy lives, but do such settings actually help to boost our wellbeing? While architects, urban planners and policymakers have puzzled over this question for centuries, quantitative analyses have been held back by a lack of data on the beauty of our environment. Now, the vast volumes of geotagged images readily shared on the Internet, alongside developments in computer vision and deep learning, are opening up new opportunities to quantify aspects of the visual environment that were previously hard to measure. In this talk, I will explain how combining survey and mobile phone data with crowdsourced ratings of the “scenicness” of the environment, obtained from the online game Scenic-Or-Not, is providing initial evidence that the beauty of the environment has a crucial link to people's wellbeing. I will also talk about how we used neural networks to not only understand the composition of beautiful places, but also to automatically identify scenic beauty, in both natural and built locations.

32L 2.04, 2nd Floor Conference Room, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH
Thursday  25 October 2018  13:00 - 14:15

Emotions, Risk Attitudes, and Patience

Armando N. Meier (Chicago)

Previous work has shown that preferences are not always stable across time, but surprisingly little is known about the reasons for this instability. I examine whether variation in people's emotions over time predicts changes in preferences. Using a large panel data set, I find that within-person changes in happiness, anger, and fear have substantial effects on risk attitudes and patience. Robustness checks indicate a limited role of alternative explanations. I further address potential endogeneity concerns by exploiting information about the death of a parent or child. This identification strategy confirms a large causal impact of emotions on preferences.

32L 2.04, 2nd Floor Conference Room, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH
Thursday  01 November 2018  13:00 - 14:15

A local community intervention that raises general adult population mental wellbeing and pro-sociality: the Action for Happiness 'Exploring What Matters' course

Christian Krekel (CEP)

Although correlates of mental wellbeing have been extensively studied, little is known about how to effectively raise mental wellbeing in local communities. We conduct a randomised controlled trial of the 'Exploring What Matters' course, a scalable social-psychological intervention aimed at raising general adult population mental wellbeing and pro-sociality. The course is run by volunteers in their local communities, and is currently conducted in more than nineteen countries around the world. We find that it has strong positive causal effects on participants' self-reported subjective wellbeing and pro-social behaviour while reducing measures of mental ill health. Impacts seem to be sustained two months post-treatment. There is some evidence that, for certain individuals, effects on self-reported outcomes are accompanied by positive changes in biomarker outcomes, in particular reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6.

32L 2.04, 2nd Floor Conference Room, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH