Ruut Veenhoven Happiness Meaning Oegsgeest2008

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Ruut Veenhoven's presentation Thoughts on Happiness 2008

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Ruut Veenhoven Happiness Meaning Oegsgeest2008

  1. 1. The Happy life and the Meaningful life Presentation at conference Thoughts on Happiness Haring Happiness Institute Oegsgeest, The Netherlands, November 5, 2008
  2. 2. Happy and Meaningful life <ul><li>Assumed relations </li></ul><ul><li>Conceptual differences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>definition of happiness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 notions of meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reality links </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning  Happiness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning  Happiness </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Happy and meaningful life Assumptions <ul><li>Problem </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of meaning in modern society </li></ul><ul><li>Resulting in lower happiness </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions </li></ul><ul><li>(New) Religion </li></ul><ul><li>Therapy </li></ul>
  4. 4. Happy and meaningful life Assumptions <ul><li>Causal relations </li></ul><ul><li>Direct </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Innate need for meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gratification results in happiness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Indirect, e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning  (Self) respect  Happiness </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Happy and meaningful life What is the difference?
  6. 6. Happy and meaningful life What is the difference? <ul><li>Often mentioned in connection </li></ul><ul><li>‘ authentic happiness’ Seligman </li></ul><ul><li>‘ eudaimonic’ happiness Deci </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Purpose in Life Scale Crumbauch </li></ul>
  7. 7. Happy and meaningful life What is the difference? <ul><li>Not quite the same </li></ul><ul><li>Notions of happiness </li></ul><ul><li>Notions of meaningfulness </li></ul>
  8. 8. Notions of happiness Four qualities of life
  9. 9. Notions of Happiness Four qualities of life
  10. 10. Notions of Happiness Four kinds of satisfaction
  11. 11. Notions of Happiness Four kinds of satisfaction
  12. 12. Notions of happiness Measurement of happiness Self report on single question Taking all together, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your life as a whole these days? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Dissatisfied Satisfied
  13. 13. What is the difference? Notions of meaningfulness
  14. 14. What is the difference? Notions of meaningfulness <ul><li>Living a life worth living </li></ul><ul><li>Seeing meaning in life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Having a philosophy of life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seeing useful contribution in that context </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Active involvement in life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pursuing goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reaching goals </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. What is the difference? Notions of meaningfulness <ul><li>Living a life worth living ≠ </li></ul><ul><li>Seeing meaning in life ≠ </li></ul><ul><li>Active involvement in life </li></ul>
  16. 16. What is the difference? Notions of meaningfulness <ul><li>Seeing meaning in life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Having a philosophy of life ≠ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seeing useful contribution in that context </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. What is the difference? Notions of meaningfulness <ul><li>Active involvement in life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Having goals ≠ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reaching goals </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. What is the difference? Notions of meaningfulness <ul><li>Most meaningful life </li></ul><ul><li>Living a life worth living + </li></ul><ul><li>Seeing meaning in life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>+ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Active involvement in life </li></ul>
  19. 19. What is the difference? Measures of meaningfulness <ul><li>Living a life worth living not measurable </li></ul><ul><li>Seeing meaning in life self-reports </li></ul><ul><li>Active involvement in life self-reports observation </li></ul>
  20. 20. What is the difference? Measures of meaning <ul><li>Living a life worth living not measurable </li></ul><ul><li>Seeing meaning in life self-reports </li></ul><ul><li>Active involvement in life self-reports observation </li></ul>
  21. 21. What is the difference? Measures of meaning <ul><li>Self reports of seeing meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose in Life test PIL </li></ul><ul><li>Life Regard Index LRI </li></ul><ul><li>Life Attitude Profile LAP </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning of Life Questionnaire MLQ </li></ul>
  22. 22. What is the difference? Measures of meaning: Example <ul><li>Meaning of Life Questionnaire (MLQ) </li></ul><ul><li>I understand my life’s meaning </li></ul><ul><li>I am looking for things that make my life meaningful </li></ul><ul><li>My life has a clear sense of purpose </li></ul><ul><li>I am seeking a mission in life </li></ul><ul><li>I have discovered a satisfying purpose </li></ul><ul><li>I have a good sense of what makes my life meaningful </li></ul><ul><li>Rating: 1 ‘untrue’ to 10 ‘absolutely true’ </li></ul>
  23. 23. Reality links
  24. 24. Reality links <ul><li>Is there a correlation? </li></ul><ul><li>If so, what causes what? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning  Happiness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning  Happiness </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Reality links Is there a correlation? <ul><li>Living a life worth living ? </li></ul><ul><li>Seeing meaning in life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Having a philosophy of life 0 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seeing a role in that context + </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Involvement in life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Having goals +/0 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reaching goals ++ </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. What causes what? Perceived meaning  Happiness <ul><li>Theory </li></ul><ul><li>No need for meaning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No survival value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hence unlikely to be hard-wired </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rather a universal striving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consequence of human thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not linked to affect </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. What causes what? Perceived meaning  happiness <ul><li>Empery: Follow-up </li></ul><ul><li>Short-term: day-by-day </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning does not predict happiness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Happiness predicts meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Long-term: 2 years </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Happiness does not predict meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning does not predict happiness </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. What causes what? Perceived meaning  Happiness <ul><li>Empery: Experiments mood induction </li></ul><ul><li>Positive mood  more meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Positive mood  more distinction of meaningfulness </li></ul>
  29. 29. Reality links Involvement in life   Happiness <ul><li>Theory </li></ul><ul><li>Involvement  Happiness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Innate need for functioning is functional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involvement involves functioning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hence involvement rewarding in itself </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Happiness  Involvement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Happiness works as a ‘go’ signal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hence fosters involvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Broaden & Built theory) </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Reality links Involvement in life   Happiness <ul><li>Empery: follow-up </li></ul><ul><li>Involvement  Happiness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Active hours predict happiness years later </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social participation predicts happiness years later </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Happiness  Involvement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Happiness predicts social participation years later </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Reality links Involvement in life   Happiness <ul><li>Empery: experiments </li></ul><ul><li>Activation therapy effective </li></ul><ul><li>Induced happiness activates </li></ul>
  32. 32. Happy and meaningful life Conclusion <ul><li>Not quite the same </li></ul><ul><li>Not all meaning gives happiness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only involvement does </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Happiness drives some kinds of meaning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perceived meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active involvement </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. World Database of Happiness http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl

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