London: Ever measured the exact value of a happy marriage! Well, a new book has revealed that it may be equivalent to earning 65,000 pounds a year.

Author David Brooks, whose latest book 'Social Animal' explores the importance of things that go on below our conscious awareness, calculated the "psychic benefit" of a long marriage at 65,000 pounds a year.

According to Brooks, couples in long-term and stable marriages are "significantly more content" than those who are unmarried.

"Marriage is tremendously important," he said.

"We have a tendency to think of ourselves as rational individuals who are driven by economic motives, but in fact we are social individuals, driven by the need for relationships."

Brook's estimate of the financial value of marriage is even higher than that of social researchers who look at the cash differences between married and unmarried people.

Both official and independently-produced figures, he said, show that married couples are better off than others, including couples who live together.

According to Brooks, relationships are more important than money and students should take study courses about who they might marry.

"Joining a club that meets once a month produces the same happiness gain as doubling your income," he said.

The journalist with the New York Times pointed out that people's emotions are strongly influenced by their surroundings but that it is possible to control them.

"We have the power to educate our emotions. The art and music we listen to affects our emotions. By changing our environment we change our mind," he said.

He added: "One of the most important things you can do is learn how to read and attune to other people. We all work better in groups than we do as individuals.

"Even for middle-aged guys, attuning to emotional signals of people around you is probably the most important thing. We are networked, we are social animals."

According to Brooks, even peoples' names could influence the long-term direction of their lives.

He said: "We know that most of our thinking goes on unconsciously, and some of this thinking is very peculiar.

"For example, people named Dennis are disproportionately likely to become dentists, and people named Lawrence are disproportionately likely to become lawyers.

"We have an unconscious bias towards things that are familiar. A lot of what is going on unconsciously is quite important."

Agencies