Progress Post #2: Finishing the Research

At this point, I have finished all my research and formulated a thesis for my paper. I will argue that making and viewing art, participating in sports, and large-game hunting are all sexually selected behaviors in humans and that happiness increases when humans engage in these behaviors to ensure that reproduction occurs and genetic information is passed on. My next post will be during my paper writing process. I explained how I would establish that these actions are sexually selected in my last post. In this post, I will explain my research which will help me establish that these behaviors increase happiness.

The paper Do the Arts Make you Happy? A Quantile Regression Approach by Chris Hand states that attending art events and viewing art increases self-reported happiness. I found similar studies correlating sports and fitness with happiness in Subjective Wellbeing and Engagement in Arts, Culture, and Sport by Daniel Wheatley and Craig Bickerton. I found a similar trend for hunting in Happiness is Greater in Natural Environments by George MaKerron and Susana Mourato. According to Geoffrey Miller, large game hunting was a sexually selected behavior. It didn’t provide a steady food source to the community and it required a large energy and time investment, making it unlikely to be for survival. Hunting displayed not only the physical prowess of the male but his altruism as well. The meat from the animal would feed the entire community in premodern times, often with the hunter receiving the same amount of meat and others in the village. Due to this I also looked for a correlation between altruistic actions and increased happiness. I found the paper Doing Well by Doing Good. The Relationship Between Formal Volunteering and Self-Reported Health and Happiness by Francesca Borgonovi which found that frequent volunteering correlated to increased self-reported happiness.  Hunting, attending art events, playing sports, and doing altruistic actions would all be considered leisure activities. Leisure activities are generally assumed to increase happiness regardless of the specific activity. Hills and Argyle found that this was not the case in Positive moods derived from leisure and their relationship to happiness and personality. The article compared different leisure activities and their effect on happiness and concluded that while all of the activities increased the participant’s satisfaction, they didn’t all increase their happiness.  some leisure activities such as TV watching actually decrease the person’s self-reported happiness according to Frey, Benesch, and Stutzer in Does watching TV make us happy? Another possible critique of the articles could be their use of self-reported happiness which some argue to be inaccurate. However, studies, such as one done in Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-being: Evidence from the USA by Oswald and Wu, suggest that self-reported happiness data an accurate measure of true happiness. In my paper I will argue that making and viewing art, participating in sports, and large-game hunting are all sexually selected behaviors in humans and that happiness increases when humans engage in these behaviors to ensure that reproduction occurs and genetic information is passed on. My next post will be during my paper writing process.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. esrenshaw says:

    Hi! Your project sounds so cool!

    After reading your introductory post, it’s great seeing how the project develops. Out of the major behaviors that you are studying, large game hunting really surprised me at first. The other behaviors, sports and art, feel contemporary (or timeless) and so I can easily make connections to my own life.
    However, with large game hunting, I have little connection to my own life and base knowledge. I can go in without expectations and be prepared to read your paper. I’ll be able to absorb all the information you compile. In my experience, though, hunting today has stigma and stereotypes attached. It is not often portrayed as “sexy” or cool, where as athletes and artists (or anyone doing sports or art) are, without a doubt. This reminds me that I have to examine my own biases and pop culture influences to learn the science behind it.

    Because large game hunting is unfamiliar to me, the background information about large game hunting in historic times was very helpful. Some of it sounded familiar from high school world history classes, but it was interesting to consider the altruistic aspect of hunting which I certainly hadn’t read about in a textbook. Furthermore, I like the line you drew from hunting to modern volunteer work.

    I’m excited to read your paper!