For many, Chinese dream means happiness

Updated: 2013-09-06 08:01

By Wang Shanshan in Beijing (China Daily)

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'Lost wallet' test

People have a psychological need for a high level of trust in society, not just between citizens, but also in institutions such as government, said Lin Guirui, a psychology professor at Beijing's Capital Normal University.

The human need for trust was confirmed by the "lost wallet" experiment conducted by the Reader's Digest Europe in 1996, when 10 wallets containing a small amount of cash, plus the contact details of the "owners", were dropped at random in 20 cities in 14 European countries and also in 12 US cities.

The number of wallets returned with the contents intact indicated a strong correlation between national social trust and individual levels of personal satisfaction. The experiment has often been replicated by psychological researchers.

"People need a clean government they can rely on, a community where they can trust their friends, neighbors and strangers. Love and belonging come just after basic physiological and security needs, and people are afraid of feeling lonely," said Lin.

"Loneliness is the feeling that human beings can endure the least. When we talk about how we can become happier, we should look at the question from both sides of the coin."

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