Measures of global subjective well-being assess individuals’ overall perceptions of their lives. This can include questions about life satisfaction or judgments of whether individuals are currently living the best life possible. What factors may contribute to how people respond to these questions? Age, health, personality, social support, and life experiences have been shown to influence judgments of global well-being. It is important to note that predictors of well-being may change as we age. What is important to life satisfaction in young adulthood can be different in later adulthood ( George, 2010 ). Early research on well-being argued that life events such as marriage or divorce can temporarily influence well-being, but people quickly adapt and return to a neutral baseline (called the hedonic treadmill; Diener, Lucas, & Scollon, 2006 ). More recent research suggests otherwise. Using longitudinal data, researchers have examined well-being prior to, during, and after major life events such as widowhood, marriage, and unemployment ( Lucas, 2007 ). Different life events influence well-being in different ways, and individuals do not often adapt back to baseline levels of well-being. The influence of events, such as unemployment, may have a lasting negative influence on well-being as people age. Research suggests that global well-being is highest in early and later adulthood and lowest in midlife ( Stone, Schwartz, Broderick, & Deaton, 2010 ).
Not even Stephen Hawking uses the kind of sci-fi communication interface that University of Kansas neuroscientist Jonathan Brumberg is developing. Hawking uses a cheek muscle to control his voice device. But Brumberg wants to give individuals with no voluntary movement at all the ability to control a communication device via a brain-computer (BCI) interface—with their thoughts alone. And what would set this apart from other speech BCIs is that it would allow an individual to speak through a speech synthesizer in real time. Read More