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16 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

What are the determinants of happiness?

Affective forecasting

Genetic set-point




Definition of happiness/Subject well-being

The sense that one's life is good, meaningful and worthwhile

Benefits of happiness

More productive at work

More creative

Make more money

Superior jobs

Better leadership

More likely to marry and have a fulfilling marriage

Have more friends and social support

Stronger immune system

More helpful and philanthropic

Cope better with stress and trauma

Affective forecasting

Predictions about what makes us happy

But not necessarily accurate: sources of error: focalism, emotional innumeracy, hedonic adaptation, immune neglect, inaccurate theories about what makes us happy, overestimation

Genetic set-point


Happiness as a life long trait

Related to serotonin gene

Born with a genetically-determined set-point for happines



eg: income, living conditions, parenthood, autonomy, competence and belonging

Impact of income on happiness

Positive correlation with happiness as it gives: power, high self-esteem, healthcare access, comfort, life satisfaction, time for things

But poor societies are relatively happy

Materialism can be toxic to happiness

Social comparison standards adjust as income adjusts

Impact of neighbourhood change and segregation/integration on happiness

Moving from: Higher to lower poverty: long-term improvement in health and happiness.

Why: less stress, safer, racial segregation does not affect, more short-term thinking: happiness in the moment

Impact of parenthood on happiness

Generally higher subjective well-being, because of caring for children and carrying out related activities

Impact of construal on happiness

Chronically happy people tend to think about life and events in a way that enhances and maintains happiness (vice versa)

eg: remembering and interpreting happy events more

Impact of social comparison processes on happiness

Happy people:

- less sensitive to social comparison info

- view peer's exceptional performance as in an indicative of own future prospects

Impact of self-reflection on happiness

Happy people:

- less inclined to self-reflect

Unhappy people:

- more likely to dwell on ambiguous, uncertain and negative events

- have fewer cognitive resources

Broaden and build theory (Fredrickson 1998)

Positive emotions broaden people's through-action repertoires, encouraging them to discover new/novel patterns of thought and action

Behaviours that increase happiness (positive activity interventions PAIs)

Nurture and enjoy relationships

Expressing gratitude

Helping others

Optimism about future

Savour pleasures in present

Habit of physical activity

Spiritual and religious practices

Commitment to meaningful goals

Behave like a happy person

Random acts of kindness

Moderators of positive activity interventions (PAIs)

- Lack of variety: leads to hedonic adaptation

- Dosage: too much is bad, less is often more

- Motivation: self reflection of PAIs leads to more happiness

- Placebos: belief in PAIs increases well-being

- Effort: more effortful PAIs increases well-being

Hedonic Adaptation (Brickman and Campbell 1972)

The observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a steady level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.