Happiness Measured in Cupcakes
NYU Interactive Telecommunication Program (ITP) graduate student Annelie Berner developed a new way for depicting a country’s happiness index in the form of frosting and sugar. Using the information garnered by University of Columbia researchers in the world’s first scientific measurement of happiness, Berner measured out ingredients specific to the amount of happiness given to each country to make and present 96 cupcakes at the ITP’s year-end show.
Each of the cupcakes signified an individual country and “its own, unique amount of sugar, starting with Bulgaria, who had the least amount of happiness and the least amount of sugar,” Berner told PSFK. The color of the wrappers on each cupcake also acted as a happiness scale, with dark blue as the least happy and brown, yellow, pink, and bright red for the most happy.
Berner’s project was meant as a fun way for people to digest the information in the United Nations Conference on Happiness, for which the University of Columbia conducted its happiness research earlier this year. The World Happiness Report, as it was called, gave the Happiness Index, the first significant data set of a feeling.
Berner called her project the Cupcake Index. When conference-goers visited her station, they were encouraged to try a variety of cupcakes. After consuming the baked goods, they were encouraged to pin the cupcake to a board based on their own subjective taste, and therefore based on their own subjective feeling of that particular country’s happiness. Afterwards, they could compare their guesses to an actual map of the formal Happiness Index.
“Although the Cupcake Index was not a completely accurate portrayal of the country data, it provided a fun and tangible way to arouse interest in the report,” PSFK said.
We’d use this excuse to conduct an experiment any time, under the condition that we’d have to try all of the cupcakes, you know, for science.
Photo from PSFK