The Happiness Hypothesis - Jonathan Haidt

Every community is two opposite dangers: ossification through too much discipline and reverence for tradition, on theone hand; on the other hand, dissolution, or subjection to foreign conquest, through the growth of an individualism and personal independence that makes cooperation impossible.

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Review of Haidt's "The Happiness Hypothesis" - …

Sarracino, F. (2011). Money, sociability and happiness: Are developed countries doomed to social erosion and unhappiness? . doi:10.1007/s11205–011–9898–2 Discovering whether social capital endowments in modern societies have been subjected or not to a process of gradual erosion is one of the most debated topics in recent economic literature. Inaugurated by Putnam's pioneering studies, the debate on social capital trends has been recently revived by Stevenson and Wolfers (2008) contending Easterlin's assessment. Present work is aimed at finding evidence for the relationship between changes in social capital and subjective well–being in western Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan between 1980 and 2005. In particular, I would like to answer questions such as: (1) is social capital in western Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan declining? Is such erosion a general trend of modern and richer societies or is it a characteristic feature of the American one? (2) can social capital trend help explain subjective well–being trend? Therefore, present research considers three different set of proxies of social capital controlling for time and socio–demographic aspects using WVS–EVS data between 1980 and 2005. Present results are encouraging, showing evidence of positive correlation between several proxies of social capital and both happiness and life satisfaction. Furthermore, results show that during last twenty–five years people in some of the most modern and developed countries have persistently lost confidence in the judicial system, religious institutions, parliament and civil service.

Happiness Hypothesis Review • Mentalism Skills

Mongrain, M., & Anselmo-Matthews, T. (2012). Do Positive Psychology Exercises Work? A Replication of Seligman et al.. , (4), 382-389. doi:10.1002/jclp.21839 Objectives: The current work replicated a landmark study conducted by Seligman and colleagues (2005) that demonstrated the long-term benefits of positive psychology exercises (PPEs). In the original study, two exercises administered over 1 week ("Three Good Things" and "Using your Signature Strengths in a New Way") were found to have long-lasting effects on depression and happiness (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). Design: These exercises were tested here using the same methodology except for improvements to the control condition, and the addition of a second "positive placebo" to isolate the common factor of accessing positive, self-relevant constructs. This component control design was meant to assess the effect of expectancies for success (expectancy control), as well the cognitive access of positive information about the self (positive placebo). Results: Repeated measures analyses showed that the PPEs led to lasting increases in happiness, as did the positive placebo. The PPEs did not exceed the control condition in producing changes in depression over time. Conclusions: Brief, positive psychology interventions may boost happiness through a common factor involving the activation of positive, self-relevant information rather than through other specific mechanisms. Finally, the effects of PPEs on depression may be more modest than previously assumed.

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Diener, E., Lucas, R. E., & Scollon, C. N. (2006). Beyond the hedonic treadmill: revising the adaptation theory of well–being. , (4), 305–14. doi:10.1037/0003–066X.61.4.305. According to the hedonic treadmill model, good and bad events temporarily affect happiness, but people quickly adapt back to hedonic neutrality. The theory, which has gained widespread acceptance in recent years, implies that individual and societal efforts to increase happiness are doomed to failure. The recent empirical work outlined here indicates that 5 important revisions to the treadmill model are needed. First, individuals' set points are not hedonically neutral. Second, people have different set points, which are partly dependent on their temperaments. Third, a single person may have multiple happiness set points: Different components of well–being such as pleasant emotions, unpleasant emotions, and life satisfaction can move in different directions. Fourth, and perhaps most important, well–being set points can change under some conditions. Finally, individuals differ in their adaptation to events, with some individuals changing their set point and others not changing in reaction to some external event. These revisions offer hope for psychologists and policy–makers who aim to decrease human misery and increase happiness.

Jonathan Haidt: The Happiness Hypothesis

Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt;

Van Boven, L. (2005). Experientialism, materialism, and the pursuit of happiness [Special issue]. , (2), 132–142. doi:10.1037/1089–2680.9.2.132. Previous research indicates that materialistic aspirations are negatively associated with happiness and psychological health. Recent research extends these findings by demonstrating that allocating discretionary resources toward life experiences makes people happier than allocating discretionary resources toward material possessions. Respondents to various surveys have indicated that purchases made with the intention of acquiring life experiences make them happier than purchases made with the intention of acquiring material possessions. Thinking about experiential purchases has also been shown to produce more positive feelings than thinking about material purchases. Other studies suggest that experiential purchases make people happier because they are more open to positive reinterpretations, are more resistant to disadvantageous comparisons, and foster successful social relationships more than material purchases.

How to find happiness? Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt


Psychological concerns with happiness did not originate with Seligman. Each decade seems to have its own emphasis in looking at happiness. Clearly, earlier work would have been insightful to consider in the formulation of current approaches. I have not attempted to review the literature, however, in my section on happiness are several representative early studies.