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
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.