Lectures 2-3 (Chapter 2)
- Stipulative: means everyone can define something in different ways. I may define WB differently
than someone else
o Problems: confusion. No need to justify a definition
- Descriptive: general definition and general understanding of WB
o Average: words, traits, definitions to describe what most WB is
o Ideal: The max WB possible
Ideal Prototye of an Ideal Life: rich, healthy, safe, free, loved
-problems: unrealistic goal to maximize everything, neglects aspects that vary across people
-Lists: provide a list of things (definitions or principles) that deal with WB
-Problems: no agreement about the lists. No guiding principle. Not a definition
-Eudaimonia – Optimal Functioning (ex. Optimal functioning of organ, but in the case of WB what is the
function of human lives)
-Problem: What is the function of human lives?
-Hedonism: maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain
-Problem: Pe ople may prefer pain over illusory pleasure
-Problem: Pleasure and pain are not well understood
-Desire Fulfillment: fulfilled desires are good for WB and unfulfilled desires are bad for WB
-Problem: Sometimes desire-fulfillment may lead to regret
-Problem: Sometimes unexpected events can be pleasant
-Problem: Events outside people’s control can influence well-being
-Problem: More desires come up after fulfilling some
-Life-satisfaction: Retrospective evaluations
Problem: Can be based on false beliefs
Possible solution: impose a truth criterion, only if beliefs are true
New Problem: some people may prefer positive illusions
Solution: Depends on people’s preference regarding illusions versus truth
Second problem: Ideals may not be authentic (manipulated by governments, parents, culture)
Solution: Ideals have to be the result of free choice
Final definition: Well-being is a close match between an actual life and an authentically chosen ideal life.
Problem: Sensible definition, but difficult to measure. Often life-satisfaction judgments are used at face value
without considering problems of illusions and inauthentic ideals.
Lecture 4-5 (Chapter 3)
History of Well-Being Science
-First attempts at the beginning of 20 century
-Flugel (track emotions in a diary)
-Decreased interest due to Second World War and Behaviorism -Renewed interest with changing values in the 1960s
-Social Indicators Movement, Aim to measure progress not just in terms of economic indicators
-Creation of first well-being meaures
-Cantril ladder: 0-10
-Bradburn scales of positive affect and negative affect: 5 questions about positive feelings and
five questions about negative feelings. Found scores on the positive scale were unrelated to scores on
the negative scale. Finding illustrates how measures can influence research results.
-Diener’s multiple-item Satisfaction with Life Scale :
Validity of Well-Being Measures
-Schimmack (2009) study: r=.5-.6 (strong correlation). Strong correlations between average domains
and global life satisfactions measures. Also stable sense of WB (strong correlations from year to year).
-Convergent validity for life-satisfaction, average domain satisfaction, hedonic balance
-Criterion validity of life-satisfaction, average domain satisfaction, hedonic balance with objective
indicators of well-being (income, divorce, etc. )
-Other attempts at measuring well-being
-Physiological measures: ex. EEGs, sweating, etc.
-Implicit Association Test: reaction times measure peoples preferences
[only on slides]
Zou, Schimmack, & Gere study
Self-informant agreement for life-satisfaction, average domain satisfaction, hedonic balance
Self-ratings are not more valid than informant ratings
All indicators are highly correlated with each other.
Conclusion: different measures show convergent validity with each other
No evidence that one measure is better than other measure
Best practice: use multiple indicators and multiple raters
Lecture 6 (Chapter 4: Origin of Ideals, Universals)
-Universal basic needs: avoid pain and displeasure. Try to live
-Universal hierarchy of needs (Maslow): Bottom three important for WB. The order from the bottom up: 1.
Phsyiological needs, 2. Safety needs, 3. Belonging Needs, 4. Self-esteem needs, 5. Self-actualization needs)
-Universal values, but not hierarchically organized (Schwartz): 10 domains: Pleasure (Hedonism),
Achievement, Power, stimulation, self-direction, Social/ecological concerns (Universalism), social relationships,
tradition, dutifulness, Security.
-Values are universal, but relative importance can v