My university students came to me with a concern. They informed me that another professor had told them that you can’t measure happiness. This is a real concern for me; if you can’t measure happiness, then I’m out of a job. As a researcher, I can’t study something that can’t be measured.“You can’t measure happiness.” I hear this a lot. What is interesting to me is that professors, researchers, and the general public never doubt that you can measure depression, anxiety, and stress. But many are reluctant to accept that happiness is measurable.
Disguised measures, in which people don’t even know that their happiness is being assessed, have been developed. These have been successfully used to assess racism. Implicit measures typically assess reaction times to connect positive and negative terms to oneself and to others. However, implicit measures haven’t proved to be effective in assessing happiness.