Can an iPad Make You Happy?

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A new study conducted by a British information technology company says people are emotionally influenced by their access to technology. And not in a bad way.

The BCS report suggests that technological gadgets, such as computers and mobile communication devices, actually improve a user’s well-being.

“Put simply, people with IT access are more satisfied with life even when taking account of income,”social scientist Michael Willmott, the study’s author, said in a press release. “Our analysis suggests that IT has an enabling and empowering role in people’s lives by increasing their sense of freedom and control, which has a positive impact on well-being or happiness.”

BCS findings are based on an analysis of the World Values Survey, a collaborative research project conducted by social scientists that measures the social, moral, religious and political values of different cultures around the world.  Questionnaires are administered to approximately 35,000 people in more than 81 countries. The most recent survey determined that access to communication devices was highly valued by the global population.

Interestingly, women in developing nations and people of lower incomes or minimal educational backgrounds are most likely to be in a good mood because of technological access.  There was no direct correlation between emotional value and age.

BCS hopes to use its report to influence the roll that technology plays in society, suggesting that technology can be used to formulate better social policies and improve overall life satisfaction.

“The relationship between IT and happiness has not been well researched which is why the Institute commissioned this study,” Elizabeth Sparrow, BCS president, said on the company’s Web site. “If we can enhance the understanding of the relationships in a way that leads to new and improved thinking, strategies or solutions then we will have helped a little.”

You hear that, technology? The future (and our happiness) depends on you.

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