The Shifting Meaning of Happiness

Social Psychological and Personality Science, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 395-402, December 2010

9 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2010 Last revised: 5 Apr 2012

See all articles by Cassie Mogilner

Cassie Mogilner

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Sep Kamvar

Stanford University

Jennifer Aaker

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business

Date Written: December 20, 2010

Abstract

An examination of emotions reported on 12 million personal blogs along with a series of surveys and laboratory experiments shows that the meaning of happiness is not fixed; instead, it systematically shifts over the course of one’s lifetime.Whereas younger people are more likely to associate happiness with excitement, as they get older, they become more likely to associate happiness with peacefulness. This change appears to be driven by a redirection of attention from the future to the present as people age. The dynamic of what happiness means has broad implications, from purchasing behavior to ways to increase one’s happiness.

Keywords: Happiness, Emotion, Time, Age, Hedonics

Suggested Citation

Mogilner, Cassie and Kamvar, Sep and Aaker, Jennifer Lynn, The Shifting Meaning of Happiness (December 20, 2010). Social Psychological and Personality Science, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 395-402, December 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1717961

Cassie Mogilner (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Sep Kamvar

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Jennifer Lynn Aaker

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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