The Social Psychology of Living Well: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Social Psychology of Living Well

1st Edition

Edited by Joseph P. Forgas, Roy F. Baumeister


346 pages | 38 B/W Illus.

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How to live well and the search for meaning have long been of intense concern to humans, perhaps because Homo sapiens is the only species aware of its own mortality. In the last few decades, empirical psychology made a major contribution to this quest. This book surveys groundbreaking work by leading international researchers, demonstrating that social psychology is the core discipline for understanding well-being and the search for meaning. Basic conceptual and theoretical principles are discussed, drawing on philosophy, evolutionary theory and psychology, followed by a review of the role of purposeful, motivated activity and self-control in achieving life satisfaction. The role of emotional and cognitive processes and the influence of social, interpersonal and cultural factors in promoting a happy and meaningful life are discussed. The book will be of interest to students, practitioners and researchers in the behavioral and social sciences, as well as to laypersons for whom improving the quality of human life and understanding the principles of well-being are of interest.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Social Psychology of Living Well: Historical, Social and Cultural Perspectives. Joseph P. Forgas and Roy F. Baumeister

Part I. Conceptual issues.

Chapter 2. Happiness and Meaningfulness as Two Different and Not Entirely Compatible Versions of the Good Life. Roy F. Baumeister

Chapter 3. Evolutionary Imperatives and the Good Life. William von Hippel and Karen Gonsalkorale

Chapter 4. On the Adaptive Functions of Good Life: Going Beyond Hedonic Experience. Klaus Fiedler and Peter Arslan

Chapter 5. Living Life Well: The Role of Mindfulness and Compassion. Felicia A. Huppert

Part II. The Role of Purposeful Activities in Living Well.

Chapter 6. For What it’s Worth: The Regulatory Pleasure and Purpose of a Good Life. James Shah

Chapter 7. Whither Happiness? When, How and Why Might Positive Activities Undermine Well-Being. Megan M. Fritz and Sonja Lyubomirsky

Chapter 8. Understanding the Good Life: Eudaimonic Living Involves Well-Doing, Not Well-Being. Kennon M. Sheldon

Chapter 9. Religious Engagement and Living Well. David G. Myers


Part III. Affective and Cognitive Aspects of Living Well

Chapter 10. Biological Underpinnings of Positive Emotions and Purpose. Barbara L. Fredrickson

Chapter 11. Nostalgia Shapes and Potentiates the Future. Constantine Sedikides, Tim Wildschut, and Elena Stephan

Chapter 12. Negative Affect and the Good Life: On the Cognitive, Motivational and Interpersonal Benefits of Negative Mood. Joseph P. Forgas

Chapter 13. Expansive and Contractive Learning Experiences: Mental Construal and Living Well. David Kalkstein, Alexa Hubbard and Yaacov Trope

Part IV. Social and Cultural Factors in Living Well

Chapter 14. Satisfying and Meaningful Close Relationships. Shelly L. Gable

Chapter 15. Early Social Experiences and Living Well: A Longitudinal View of Adult Physical Health. Jeffry A. Simpson, Allison K. Farrell, Chloe O. Huelsnitz, and Jami Eller

Chapter 16. Positive Parenting, Adolescent Substance Use Prevention, and the Good Life. William D. Crano and Candice D. Donaldson

Chapter 17. Internet and Well-being. Yair Amichai- Hamburger and Shir Etgar

Chapter 18. Technology and the Future of Happiness. Elizabeth W. Dunn and Ryan J. Dwyer


About the Editors

Joseph P. Forgas is Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Australian Psychological Society.

Roy F. Baumeister is Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Queensland, Australia. In 2013, he received the William James Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science in recognition of his lifetime achievements.

About the Series

Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology

The aim of the Sydney Symposia of Social Psychology is to provide new, integrative insights into key areas of contemporary research. Held every year at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, each symposium deals with an important integrative theme in social psychology, and the invited participants are leading researchers in the field from around the world. Each contribution is extensively discussed during the symposium and is subsequently thoroughly revised into book chapters that are published in the volumes in this series.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health