Who said happiness is the key to life?
Scientific research from Auckland, New Zealand, has found it is better to be right, the British Medical Report reported.
General practitioners were testing the theory that pride and stubbornness get in the way of good mental health. They see many patients and couples “who lead unnecessarily stressful lives by wanting to be right rather than happy”.
A couple took part in the study, with it agreed beforehand that the woman in the relationship liked to be right and the male, being somewhat passive, would prefer to be happy.
The male was told he had to agree with his wife’s every opinion and request without complaint. “Even if he believed the female participant was wrong, the male was to bow and scrape,” said the report by Professor Bruce Arroll, Professor Felicity Goodyear-Smith and Associate Professor Timothy Keneally, of Auckland University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and statistician Simon Moyes.
It was hoped that the couple could just let go of the need to prove to others that they were right, with the result being greater happiness?
The woman, who was not told of the research, other than to rate her quality of life on a daily basis with her male partner.
However, the assumption that the male would rather be happy than be right was scrapped on day 12 of the trail.
“By then the male participant found the female participant to be increasingly critical of everything he did,” the researchers reported.
“The husband couldn’t take it anymore, so he made his wife a cup of tea and told her what had been going on.”
The man’s quality of life score had fallen from 7 out of 10 at the start to 3, whereas his female partner’s quality of life score had risen slightly from 8 to 8.5.
“It seems that being right, however, is a cause of happiness, and agreeing with what one disagrees with is a cause of unhappiness,” they wrote. They also noted that “the availability of unbridled power adversely affects the quality of life of those on the receiving end.”
The researchers would like to see the work continue:
“More research is needed to see whether our results hold if it is the male who is always right.”
This article first appeared on ‘news.com.au’ on 19 December 2013.