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Relativity in Judgements

Relativity in Judgements

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All of us make relative comparisons in many aspects of life: whether it be your salary, the neighbourhood you live in, or the car you drive, satisfaction in these areas is often driven by how you compare to other people, or how you compare with what you had in the past. This book uses a mix of theoretical and empirical approaches to unpick how such relative comparisons have powerful and wide-ranging influences on people’s well-being, decision-making, and even their longevity. For instance, relative comparisons can help us to answer questions such as why countries like the USA are not getting happier even though they are getting richer, but nevertheless richer people tend to be happier than poorer people; and why Nobel Prize winners live longer than people who were nominated for a Nobel Prize, but never won one. Also explored are the possible evolutionary origins of relative judgements, and how these can help us to understand what - and importantly who - people choose to compare themselves with, and why. For instance, why do we predominantly compare ourselves with other similar people?