Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Olympic feel good factor – if you’re a Londoner!

UnknownThe 2012 Olympic games cost us £8 billion. Think what you could have built with that?

A new study has estimated that the Games gave the average Londoner an uplift in happiness equivalent to a £8,000 pay rise! Unfortunately the feelings of happiness wore after after 12 months.

We had all the usual promises about the legacy the games would leave if we hosted it but it just doesn’t happen. “The overwhelming conclusion is that in most cases the Olympics are a money-losing proposition for host cities”

Apart from the IOC fat cats of course who do very well thank you.

Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioural sciences at the LSE, and Georgios  Kavestos, at Queen Mary University London, wondered if the feeling of satisfaction would make up for the financial losses. Immediately after the games 55% of Brits interviewed thought it was a worthwhile investment.

Researchers in London, Berlin, and Paris looked into life satisfaction, short-term happiness, anxiety levels and the sense that people’s lives were worthwhile.

Londoners felt significantly happier and more satisfied with their lives for a short time. It had the same effect as moving them from earning £10k a year to £18k. There was no such effect in  Paris or Berlin (and what about in the rest of the UK? Londoners are not the UK). And some of them would no doubt prefer to have the money.

The opening and closing ceremonies also produced a spike in happiness levels at both games (Olympics and Paralympics) albeit accompanied by a strong sense of anxiety about terrorist attacks.

The feelings of satisfaction were not connected with athletes’ success which is strange as we were third in the medals table. Maybe people just don’t care about the medals – just the medallists who cashed in on their fleeting fame.

And as stated the post-Olympic hangover cancelled out any gains. So was it worth it? Spending all that money on the games instead of “more lasting benefits like schools, infrastructure or employment?

If you want to host a party, host a party and that’s fine.The problem with events such as the Olympics is they come with all these claims that they are going to boost jobs and the economy. If you look at the literature that isn’t true. Like any party you have a great time but wake up with a hangover” said Dr Kavestos.

Some of us have been saying that for years. And don’t even mention what happened when they gave the stadium to a premier league football club! It’s always all about London.

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Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

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