Lottery research is, according to my own definition, any research that is conducted on behalf of national lottery organisers. I suppose that sometime such research might be genuinely interesting and useful, but I have a sneaking suspicion that in many cases it is simply a way for lotteries to get themselves more column inches in newspapers.
Take, for example, recently released findings that people who have ten or more good friends are likely to be happier than those who have less than five good friends. This startling discovery was made after a National Lottery research project conducted by Dr Richard Tunney of the University of Nottingham asked 1,760 people a series of questions about their relationships and how happy they were in life.
The findings of this study were that if you have five friends or less, you have a 40% chance of being happy. If you have five to ten friends than you have a 50% chance of being happy. And if you have more than ten friends then you have a 55% chance of being happy.
“Having a number of old, close friendships is related to individual happiness,” Dr Tunney said. “People who were ‘extremely satisfied’ with their lives had twice the number of friends of people who were ‘extremely dissatisfied’.”
Forgive me for being obvious, but I would think that this has something to do with the fact that nobody likes to spend time with miserable people. Whilst we could conclude that having more friends makes us happier, we could just as easily conclude that being happier tends to bring us more friends.
This isn’t the first time that the National Lottery has commissioned research that produced less than startling findings. In my blog entry Lottery Happiness (dated 11 November, 2007) I talked about another University of Nottingham study which revealed that lottery jackpot winners were, on average, happier than non winners, but that they enjoyed a good book and a bar of chocolate just like everyone else.
Okay, so there’s no real harm in researching the obvious, but if the lottery organisers want to fund research surely it would be more productive to look into something that could potentially offer some serious benefits to those of us who play the games?
How about funding some research into finding a cure for a common sickness or disease, or figuring out a way to reduce the number of people struggling with homelessness and poverty? That’s something I would support wholeheartedly, and I think many other lottery players probably feel the same way.
Article Last Updated: 18/03/2009 18:09:03
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