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PSY336 Lec 2 Burton.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Christine Burton

PSY 336 LEC2: Happiness: Theory and Definitions Finding which links happiness to +ve outcomes... Harker and Keltner (2001) Yearbook Study -114 photos of females from 1958 and 60 yearbooks -111 of them smiling, varying degrees of Duchenne-ness; coded on a scale of 1-10 and the avg was 3.8 -Contacted Ps 40 years later and asked them about marital status and satisfaction if married Result: those with higher levels of Duchenne smile more likely to be married and satisfied with marriage 40 years later SO? -Happiness at T1 predicted well-being (in terms of being married and happy in this marriage) 5 decades later NB: what they actually measured was level of 'smizing', this was a stand-in for 'happiness' at T1 Danner et al (2001) Nun Study -in the 30's nuns wrote autobio essays for their mother superior -180 essays were scored for pemotional content (positive and negative emotion words eg. “i was born in x year to my parents named y and z” low content VS “god began my beautiful life on x day and to my wonderful parents y and z”) Methodology NB: particularily valuable because confounding variables were controlled across P's: lack of lifestyle variants, had same income, habits, diet, lifestyle, access to HC, etc → leads to cleaner data -in the 90s, 60% of the sample remained alive so they decided to look at whether positive emotionality 60 years prior predicted longevity, age of death –those in any percentile higher than 75th of happiness lived 10 years longer on average than those in the lower than 25th percentile (NB: huge effect size!) SO? -expression of happiness predicts longetivity -what about other variables such as.. genetics, mediators such as stress levels, social connectedness? -still striking, and worth noting but shows that we need theoretical background to answer the original question NB: issues with what happiness is defined as, other variables → importance of measurement and operational definition as well as of multiple forms of measurement and convergent findings -specifying, validating various forms of happiness Hedonism -good life=max pleasure, min pain; +ve emotional experiences are the key to happiness -Pleasure='raw feels' of the body; multidimensional (quality and quantity), not simple absence of negativity Peak-End Theory (how we remember events) Kahneman (1999): Ps in various situations (e.g. watching movie vs going through slightly uncomfortable medical procedure), reported throughout and just before end -memory for positivity/negativity of an experience not like a video; evaluations tends to be more summative: average of most extreme rating and how it was rated right at the end --strategy employed by movies, ads, blood donations, etc → always end a scary movie w a really scary scene, always leave people wanting more -Duration Neglect: summary evaluations ignore duration of the event being evaluated and focus instead on the avg Another example of duration neglectm Kahneman et al (1993) -Some Ps put there hands in ice water for 60 seconds; other group of Ps do 60 seconds in ice water plus extra 30 with water a degree warmer Results: Ps in 90 s group reported experience as less unpleasant than those who did it for a shorter period of time SO? -demonstrates the role of the end impression and duration neglect, the slight improvement at the end of the experience made the memory of it better overall Why do we care about all of this? -There is something to having positive experiences and few negative experiences in happiness -Peak-end theory demonstrates findings specifying what about positive experiences makes us happy → peaks and ends more than duration; can be applied to life Subjective Well-Being (SWB) -Ed Diener defines WB as optimal psych experience and function -Subjective because get @ the idea of ppl evaluating for themselves how good think their life is --Tripartite concept: SWB → high +ve affect, low -ve affect, high degree of satisfaction with one's life Diener et al -Affect=moods and emotions; on-line evaluations of events *-ve and +ve affect fairly separable *-+ve and -ve affect are fairly separable, statistically and experientially, both can be hi or lo in intensity -women on average report more +ve and more -ve affect than men (and tend to be both higher on extraversion and neuroticism) SWB: Cognitive Component -evaluations of life satisfaction -another separate but related factor -Diener et al recommended that these 3 components be considered and measured independently and developed the satisfaction with life scale Summary -SWB denotes a global state of one's life that includes an affective component and a cognitive component -Similar to hedonism in that involves -ve and +ve affect and emphasizes there importance to the construct -Goes beyond hedonism in that it introduces a more reflective, cognitive, evaluative component to well-being Anything missing? -We could go further into subjective impressions of fulfillment and wellness -What goes on when we're feeling fulfilled/vital/happy/engaged --Can the “good life” be considered more of a process or way of life than a state? What about being or living a certain way rather than simply feeling a certain way? Eudaimonia -defined as the process of living well or actualizing one's human potentials -sees true wellness as a process rather than an end state; a way of living as more important than a feeling, mental state, or cognitive appraisal -involves prioritizing first-order values and focusing of those of intrinsic, as opposed to extrinsic, worth (also known as “bottom line” values) Philosophical Roots -Comes fromAristotle -Aprocess of being true to one's inner self and actualizing human potentials -Must identify and then fulfill virtuous potentials; active and deliberate striving for what is truly worthwhile and of inherent human worth -This process is a voluntary choice and requires one's own volition in seeking excellence and cultivating virtues --Eudaimonic pursuits are expressions of one's true and virtuous self --all of this requires rationality and reflection; emphasis on the importance of these in +ve psych In Hedonia, the focus is on the outcome and happiness is simply having high amounts of
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