In a world where happiness seems to be the most elusive ideal, UBC social psychologist Elizabeth Dunn studies the secrets to achieving it.
In her TED Talk, Dunn argued that how we donate money affects our happiness in more significant ways than simply contributing to any organization. According to Dunn’s talk, “giving money to a worthwhile charity isn’t always enough. You need to be able to envision how, exactly, your dollars are going to make a difference.”
This led Dunn to join a program that allows Canadians to privately sponsor refugee families to come to Canada. Since her participation, Dunn sees so much change taking place right before her eyes.
“I certainly have had a lot of people contact me who are interested in refugee sponsorship,” Dunn said.
For nearly four decades, Canada was the only country that had a program like this in place. Now, the United Kingdom and Australia have climbed onboard.
When asked about the most exciting outcomes of the talk, Dunn explained, “Seeing the images of the family and our experiences with them, I think has inspired a number of people around the world who want to get involved in refugee sponsorship.”
“It was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”
Dunn also expressed how excited and grateful she was to have been a TED2019 Speaker.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize that the main TED conference happens in Vancouver. I was honoured to represent Vancouver on stage, since all the other speakers came from around the world to be here.”
Dunn also gave a talk at TEDx, an independently organized event, but this was her first time speaking at TED’s flagship event. Though the differences between both experiences are significant, Dunn explained that TED Talks leaves nothing left unverified.
As a TED2019 Speaker, Dunn provided a reading list of further learning for online audiences. This also included footnotes containing references for each statement of fact. TEDx, however, is a little more lenient.
“I think that’s maybe one thing I learned from my experience that might be useful for UBC students and faculty and others to recognize,” Dunn said. “You would have undergone more extensive [fact checking] than at TEDx.”
When asked how she feels now that she’s finally delivered her talk, Dunn responded, “It was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”
Dunn looks forward to sharing her research on happiness with UBC students this fall in a 400-level course, PSYC 417A.