Psychological Background to the ESB

Meet Marilex our psychological expert

Marilex is part of the Emotional Salary Barometer creative team. She is a psychologist with over 15 years of experience and graduate studies in clinical psychology and neuropsychology. She specializes in organisational psychology research.

We love having Marilex on our team. Not only because of her professional experience and knowledge that have been key to the development of the ESB, but also because she is a great entrepreneur. Her data analysis and data integration knowledge and skills are essential to our project.

Our research has been broad and extensive. Nevertheless, we can pinpoint three main scientific theories that are relevant for our tool and our research and gave us the context that supports the benefits that could be derived from using such a tool like the ESB. These theories are:

Hedonistic Adaptation

The Theory of Hedonistic Adaptation (the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relative stable emotional level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes). After a repeated exposure to the same emotion-producing stimulus, we tend to experience less of the emotion. To put it more simply, we get used to the good things that happens to us. While Hedonistic adaptation gives unparalleled resiliency and keeps us always in the search for greater things, it also kills our marriage or our jobs. We stop seeing everything that is positive and start complaining. It is therefore, a psychological imperative to fight hedonistic adaptation if we want to maximize our well-being and the possibilities of our jobs.

Cognitive Bias

The Theory of Cognitive Bias and Narrative Fallacies (Daniel Kahneman – Thinking Fast and Slow). We are far less rational and far less correct in our thinking, judgements and perceptions than we’d like to think or give ourselves credit for. We all suffer from  cognitive bias. Cognitive bias is a limitation in objective thinking that is caused by the tendency for the human brain to perceive information through a filter of personal experience and preferences. We humans constantly fool ourselves by constructing flimsy stories and believe they are true. We tend to exaggerate the consistency of our evaluations, good  and bad. Most of the stories we tell ourselves about our work are largely illusory.  To think clearly about the future, we need to clean up the language that we use in labelling the beliefs we had in the past. And we believe that the ESB is an excellent tool to do exactly that.

Positive Psychology

The vast research and studies in positive psychology that support the theory that when we are aware of what we have we create further success in all aspects of our lives (well being, relationships, optimism, physical and mental health, self-control, etc.). Taking this into account, research also suggests that when we recognize everything that we have we prevent the perceived loss of value of what we have. In fact, when we do an exercise and take the time to consider what we have, we are re-valuing what we have and new possibilities arise in us that lead to greater satisfaction and thus greater success.

Download the research article for the ESB