Scientists Measure Pleasure

21 January 2013, 10:39 | Updated: 21 January 2013, 10:41

Scientists at a London University have found that happiness is picking up a stray £10 note

Researchers at Birkbeck carried out tests on 80 volunteers whose brainwaves were recorded while they engaged in different activities.

From the readings, they produced a pleasure scale ranging from minus 100 to plus 100.

A surprise £10 windfall generated the highest average score of 82.9. At the other end of the scale, listening to badly played violin emerged as one of the most unpleasant experiences, with a rating of minus 55.7.

Playing with puppies scored 67.5, eating chocolate 65, and looking at pictures of smiling babies 50.9.

Off-putting images of rotten teeth or crying infants produced a score of minus 38.4.

It released the results on "Blue Monday" - the third Monday in January and traditionally the most depressing day of the year.

Men were most affected by finding money, responding with a score of 90.1. Women scored 79.3, showing they were less impressed by cash windfalls.

Overall, women found life more pleasurable, recording an average 66.4 on the pleasure scale compared with just 58.2 for men.