Suffering is difficult to measure

From How Emotions Are Made
Jump to: navigation, search

Chapter 11 endnote 66, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

...physical harm like a broken leg is usually more economically predictable than emotional harm, which is far more variable. [...] How do you quantify suffering in dollars?

How do you quantify, in dollars, how much suffering is worth when you can’t really measure suffering all that well, and there is tremendous variation from one person to the next? The same points are true for happiness, but economists are willing to estimate a country’s wealth using a gross happiness index.

Lawyers won the DNA case in Atlanta discussed in chapter 11 precisely because they instructed the jury how to quantify the suffering in her closing arguments.