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Basic Concepts in Positive Psychology Essay

* What do researches mean by ‘subjective well-being’? How is this construct measured?

What the researchers mean by ‘subjective well-being’ is that it takes a broad view of happiness, beyond the pursuit of short-term of physical pleasures defining a narrow hedonism. It is also define as life satisfaction, the presence of positive affect, and a relative absence of negative affect. ‘Subjective well-being’ is measured by hedonic well-being where it’s proposed that an individual experiences happiness when positive affect and satisfaction with life are both high.

* On p. 18 of your textbook, the authors present the hypothetical possibility of being hooked up to an ‘experience machine’ that would guarantee a constant state of happiness and positive emotion. Would you choose to be hooked up to such a machine? Why or why not? In your response, differentiate between hedonic and eudaimonic concepts of happiness.

When I read this part of the passage in my textbook about being hook to an “experience machine” that would guarantee a constant state of happiness and positive emotion did cross my mind. I thought about what it would be like just to feel the constant emotion of being happy. At first I thought it would be an incredible experience. Never having to worry, or to feel sad, to feel rejected or lonely would be awesome not to feel those emotions anymore. However, to be in a constant state of being happy and always positive could take away the fulfillment of actually living life. Eudaimonic is defined as self-realization, meaning the expression and fulfillment of inner potential.

So from this perspective, the good life results from living in accordance with your true self. It’s a process in which our talents, needs, and deeply held values direct the way we conduct our lives. The hedonic view captures a major element of what we mean by happiness in everyday terms: we enjoy life, we are satisfied with how our lives are going; and good events outnumber bad events. Hedonic well-being is based on the concept that increased pleasure and decreased pain leads to happiness (subjective well-being).


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