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article imageStudy: Eurovision Song Contest linked to increased happiness

By Tim Sandle     May 11, 2018 in Lifestyle
The strange science story of the week, and a topical one, is that the Eurovision Song Contest is associated with an increase in life satisfaction, according to researchers.
The new psychological study, from Imperial College London, concludes that participating in the Eurovision Song Contest appears to be connected with an increase in a nation's life satisfaction. Additionally, the researchers also found doing poorly in the international even (the infamous "nul point") was linked with a greater increase in life satisfaction compared to not taking part in the event at all.
Unfamiliar with Eurovision's big, bombastic ballads and high-energy pop? Here's a taste of 2017's event:
For the study, the British researchers analysed data from more than 160,000 people living in 33 European countries, during the period 2009 to 2015. The information was gathered from a questionnaire given to selected individuals as part of the Eurobarometer survey. This survey is conducted by the European Commission at several intervals throughout the year to assess the well-being of European Union citizens.
The study showed, based on a summary from The Independent:
European citizens had a four percent higher probability of feeling satisfied with their lives if their own country climbed the Eurovision scoreboard by ten places.
People had a 13 percent higher chance of feeling content with their lives if their country competed, in contrast with a country not competing.
These are associations rather than correlations. The underlying theme is about how big, live broadcast events impact upon a nation's psyche.
Lead researcher Dr Filippos Filippidis explains how the research came about: "This finding emerged from a jokey conversation in our department. Our 'day job' involves investigating the effect of public policies, environmental factors and economic conditions on people's lifestyle and health."
He adds: "Our department employs people from lots of different countries and around the time of the Eurovision Song Contest we were chatting about whether the competition could also affect a country's national wellbeing. We looked into it and were surprised to see there may be a link."
The research is published in the journal BMC Public Health. The research paper is titled "“Euphoria” or “Only Teardrops”? Eurovision Song Contest performance, life satisfaction and suicide."
A live stream of Eurovision 2018 can be found here:
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