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Michael Argyle (1925-2002)

Pioneer of the social scientific study of happiness

After the huge upheaval of the Second World War, the social scientific study of happiness became sidelined to a certain extent and was fast becoming an area of academia ignored or overlooked by funders and researchers. In 1987 Argyle published The Psychology of Happiness, a review of available research at the time about what makes people happy. He achieved his mission of proving that the scientific study of happiness is relevant and worthwhile. From this point on, happiness became a much-studied subject.

Perhaps Argyle’s greatest achievement was the development of the Oxford Happiness Scale, a means of measuring happiness and one of the main social tools still in use today among social scientists. He was one of the founders of the Journal of Happiness Studies , a forum for academics from a multitude of backgrounds to come together and discuss wellbeing.

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