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Which emotional experiences should people pursue to optimize happiness? According to traditional subjective well-being (SWB) research, the more pleasant emotions we experience, the happier we are. According to Aristotle, the more we experience the emotions we want to experience, the happier we are. We tested both predictions in a cross-cultural sample of 2,324 participants from eight countries around the world. We assessed experienced emotions, desired emotions, and indices of well-being and depressive symptoms. Across cultures, happier people were those who more often experienced emotions they wanted to experience, whether these were pleasant (e.g., love) or unpleasant (e.g., hatred). This pattern applied even to people who wanted to feel less pleasant or more unpleasant emotions than they actually felt. Controlling for differences in experienced and desired emotions left the pattern unchanged. These findings suggest that happiness involves experiencing emotions that feel right, whether they feel good or not.
The Secret to Happiness: Feeling Good or Feeling Right?
Maya Tamir1, Shalom H. Schwartz1,2 Shige Oishi3, & Min Y. Kim4
1The Hebrew University
2National Research University—Higher School of Economics, Moscow
3The University of Virginia
4Keimyung University, Daegu, Republic of Korea
In press (2017): Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
Author Note. This work was supported by Grant 794/11 from the Israel Science Foundation. The
authors thank Jan Cieciuch, Michaela Riediger, Claudio Torres, Christie Scollon, Vivian Dzokoto
and Xiaolu Zhou for their help with data collection. The ideas and data presented in this paper were
previously presented at colloquium talks at the Hebrew University and UC Berkeley.
Which emotional experiences should people pursue to optimize happiness? According to
traditional subjective well-being (SWB) research, the more pleasant emotions we experience, the
happier we are. According to Aristotle, the more we experience the emotions we want to
experience, the happier we are. We tested both predictions in a cross-cultural sample of 2,324
participants from eight countries around the world. We assessed experienced emotions, desired
emotions, and indices of well-being and depressive symptoms. Across cultures, happier people
were those who more often experienced emotions they wanted to experience, whether these were
pleasant (e.g., love) or unpleasant (e.g., hatred). This pattern applied even to people who wanted to
feel less pleasant or more unpleasant emotions than they actually felt. Controlling for differences
in experienced and desired emotions left the pattern unchanged. These findings suggest that
happiness involves experiencing emotions that feel right, whether they feel good or not.
Keywords: happiness, well-being, emotion, culture, motivation
The Secret to Happiness: Feeling Good or Feeling Right
Happiness is often defined as “a state of well-being and contentment” (Merriam-Webster,
2016). It is perhaps one of the most salient of human pursuits (Diener, Sapyta, & Suh, 1998). How
can one attain this state of well-being? One answer is by increasing pleasure and decreasing pain
(Kahneman, 1999). Indeed, some psychologists argue that happiness involves maximizing pleasant
emotions and minimizing unpleasant emotions (e.g., Diener, 1984; Kahneman, Diener, & Schwarz,
1999; Kuppens, Realo, & Diener, 2008; Lucas, Diener, & Suh, 1996). This approach has
dominated the field of subjective well-being (SWB) over the last 30 years (see Diener, 2013, for a
recent review). The present article explores another possible answer based on the Aristotelian
approach. Aristotle suggested that happiness involves feeling the right emotions. Such emotions
are not necessarily pleasant emotions and may even be unpleasant, like anger or fear (Thomson,
1955). Indeed, Aristotle held that the absence of unpleasant emotions is not an indicator of
happiness. Instead, happiness is linked to feeling unpleasant emotions when they are appropriate
and goal-conducive. The present research is a first attempt to test whether feeling the right
emotions may be critical in attaining happiness.
What Are the Right Emotions?
For Aristotle, happiness entails experiencing the right emotions (Nicomachean Ethics,
1105b25–6). In Book 2 of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle states that “to have these feelings at the
right times on the right grounds towards the right people for the right motive and in the right way
is (…) the mark of virtue” (1106b9-1107a1; Thomson, 1955, p. 101). Anger, fear, as well as
pleasure are right, for some people, for some reasons. For example, for a minority group member
who seeks justice because people in the majority mistreat him, feeling anger may just be the right
emotion. Whether an emotion is right, therefore, depends on the goals and needs of each
individual. Whereas anger may feel right to some, it may feel wrong to others. Happiness,
according to Aristotle, should involve feeling emotions that people deem to be appropriate given
their needs and motives. Building on Aristotle’s account, therefore, we define “feeling right” as
feeling emotions that one considers to be desirable.
Which emotions people consider desirable differs systematically across situations,
individuals, and cultures. Individuals differ in the extent to which they desire pleasant states. For
instance, whereas some individuals desire high arousal pleasant emotions, such as excitement,
others desire low activation pleasant emotions, such as calmness (Rusting & Larsen, 1995). This
pattern also differs by culture, such that Americans, on average, desire high arousal pleasant
emotions more than East Asians do (Tsai, Knutson, & Fung, 2006). Individuals also differ in the
extent to which they desire unpleasant states. For instance, European Americans seem to be more
motivated to minimize unpleasant states, compared to Germans (Koopmann-Holm & Tsai, 2014).
In addition, whereas European Americans seek to maximize pleasant experiences and minimize
unpleasant experiences, members of collectivistic cultures seek more balanced emotional
experiences, and are less motivated to minimize unpleasant experiences (e.g., Miyamoto, Ma, &
Peterman, 2014; Sims et al., 2015).
We have recently proposed that people’s values are one factor that might determine which
emotions they desire (Tamir, Schwartz et al., 2016). In a cross-cultural study, we found that people
desired emotions that were consistent with their core values. For instance, individuals who valued
self-transcendence (benevolence, universalism) desired more love, trust, and compassion (i.e., self-
transcending emotions) than others did, whereas those who valued self-enhancement (power,
achievement) desired more pride, but also more anger, hatred and contempt (i.e., self-enhancing
emotions) than others did.
Aristotle claimed that feeling emotions that are consistent with one’s values feels right, and
feeling right relates to greater happiness. Is this indeed the case? Furthermore, is this the case even
when the right emotions are unpleasant to experience? To address these questions, the present
investigation tested whether individuals are happier if they experience the emotions they desire
than if they do not, whether the emotions are pleasant or unpleasant.
We assessed the degree to which a person feels the right emotion by computing the
discrepancy between the amount of the emotion the person desires to feel and the amount of that
emotion the person actually feels. Previous research on pleasant emotions found that the smaller
the discrepancy between experienced and desired pleasant states, the more satisfied people are
(e.g., Kämpfe & Mitte, 2009; Larsen & McKibban, 2008; Rice, McFarlin, & Bennett, 1989). When
individuals desire pleasant emotions, the Aristotelian prediction is the same as the prediction of
traditional SWB researchers: people are happier if they experience as much of a pleasant emotion
as they desire. However, when people desire unpleasant emotions, the Aristotelian prediction and
the prediction of traditional SWB researchers are in stark contrast. The Aristotelian prediction is
that such people would be happier the more they feel the emotion they desire, even though that
emotion is unpleasant. The traditional SWB prediction is that people would be happier the less
they feel that unpleasant emotion, whether they desire it or not. That is because SWB researchers
typically treat pleasant emotions as good and unpleasant emotions as bad (at least for SWB;
Diener, 1984; Kahneman, 1999).
Right Emotions and Happiness across Individuals and Cultures
To our knowledge, the Aristotelian claim regarding feeling right has not been explicitly
tested in well-being research. However, this claim is consistent with several existing theoretical
approaches. For example, according to the value-as-a-moderator model of SWB (Oishi, Diener,
Suh, & Lucas, 1999), sources of SWB (e.g., achievement, self-esteem, social relationships) differ
across individuals and cultures depending on their values. For instance, satisfaction with one’s
daily achievements predicted the overall daily life satisfaction of individuals more strongly if they
were high (vs. low) in achievement values (Oishi et al., 1999). Likewise, satisfaction with one’s
finances predicted life satisfaction more in poor countries than in wealthy ones (Oishi, Diener,
Lucas, & Suh, 1999). This pattern also extends to hedonic experiences. For instance, daily physical
pleasure predicted overall daily satisfaction more among people high (vs. low) in sensation seeking
(Oishi, Schimmack, & Diener, 2001). Similarly, experiencing excitement increased life satisfaction
more among individuals high (vs. low) in sensation seeking (Oishi, Schimmack, & Colcombe,
2003, Study 5). At the national level, positive emotions related more strongly to life satisfaction in
countries that stress self-expression values than in countries that stress survival values (Kuppens et
al., 2008).
To the extent that value priorities differ across cultures (Schwartz, 2011), it is reasonable to
assume that different emotions may be associated with happiness across cultures (Mesquita, de
Leersnyder, & Albert, 2014). Kitayama, Markus, and Kurokawa (2000), for instance, found that
interpersonally disengaging pleasant emotions (e.g., pride) were strongly associated with happiness
among Americans, whereas interpersonally engaging pleasant emotions (e.g., fureai) were strongly
associated with happiness among Japanese (see also Kitayama, Ishii, Imada, Takemura, &
Ramaswamy, 2006). De Leersnyder, Kim, and Mesquita (2015) reported that people are happier
the more they experience emotions that are characteristic of their culture. They found that the
higher the correlation between a person’s emotion profile and the average profile of their culture
the greater that person’s well-being among Koreans, Belgians, and European Americans. In
general, there is evidence that people tend to be happier when their personal values are consistent
with the dominant cultural values (e.g., Fulmer et al., 2010).
Both values and desired emotions differ across cultures (e.g., Eid & Diener, 2001;
Schwartz, 2011). However, according to the Aristotelian account, regardless of their culture,
individuals should be happier the more they feel emotions that they personally deem desirable.
Thus, although experienced emotions and desired emotions may differ across cultures, the degree
to which individuals experience discrepancies between them (i.e., the degree to which people feel
‘right’) should relate consistently to happiness across cultures. An alternative prediction is that
feeling right relates differently to happiness across cultures. For instance, feeling right might relate
more strongly to happiness in wealthier countries than in poorer countries, where happiness may
depend more on satisfaction of basic needs (see Tay & Diener, 2011). To test these hypotheses, the
present investigation examined the links between feeling right and happiness across a set of
countries that vary on an index of general development (Human Development Report, 2014).
The Current Research
Previous research on the link between well-being and feeling “right” focused exclusively
on pleasant affective experiences (e.g., excitement in Oishi et al., 2003) and a small set of cultures
(e.g., Japan vs. U.S.). None of the previous research tested whether feeling “right” predicts life
satisfaction and depressive symptoms above and beyond feeling “good.” The current research
assessed the desirability of distinct emotions, including both pleasant (e.g., love and compassion)
and unpleasant (e.g., anger and hatred) emotions, and tested the Aristotelian prediction across
cultures. The inclusion of distinct emotions enabled us to test whether happiness is related to
feeling right across distinct emotions or whether happiness is related to experiencing certain right
emotions more than others. We assessed relations of the absolute discrepancies between
experienced and desired emotions with greater well-being and depressive symptoms in eight
countries around the globe.
We recently identified four emotion categories that map onto key dimensions of core values
(i.e., self-transcendence, self-enhancement, openness to experience, and conservation; Tamir et al.,
2016). We demonstrated that, across cultures, people desire emotions that are more consistent with
their values. People who value self-transcendence (e.g., universalism), for instance, desire more
empathy than others do. Similarly, people who value self-enhancement (e.g., power) desire more
anger than others do. Would people who desire more anger be happier if they experienced more
anger? Or would experiencing more anger make them less happy? To address these questions, we
assessed discrepancies between experienced and desired self-transcending emotions (e.g., love,
empathy), negative self-enhancing emotions (e.g., anger, hatred), opening emotions (e.g.,
excitement, interest) and conserving emotions (e.g., calmness, relief). We tested whether smaller
absolute discrepancies are linked to higher life satisfaction and less depressive symptoms.
Participants in this study came from eight countries (i.e., United States, Brazil, China,
Germany, Ghana, Israel, Poland, and Singapore). We chose these countries to represent seven of
the eight world cultural regions (i.e., Anglo, Latin American, Confucian, West European, Sub-
Saharan African, East Central European, and South-Asian) distinguished by both Inglehart and
Baker (2000) and Schwartz (2006). We recruited only native speakers in each country. The entire
sample included 2,324 university students (57.5% female, Mage = 22.47), recruited either through
ads or through local participant pools in their respective universities. Participants received
monetary compensation (equivalent to $3-$5) or course credit. Table 1 presents the characteristics
of each sample.
Participants completed the study in their native language or in their formal language of
instruction. They responded either online (i.e., the study was administered on Qualtrics) or in
writing (see Table 1). For non-English versions, we carried out iterations of translation and back-
translation by independent bilinguals until we obtained satisfactory versions. Separate gender-
matched versions of the survey were used in those languages that distinguish gender. After giving
consent, participants first completed a scale of basic values (PVQ-R; Schwartz et al., 2012).1
Participants then rated their desired emotions. To minimize carryover effects, they next completed
an unrelated, affectively neutral task for five minutes (i.e., creating words from letters in longer
words; e.g., ‘go’ from ‘geography’). Finally, participants rated their experienced emotions,
completed indices of depressive symptoms and well-being, and provided demographic
Desired and experienced emotions. To assess desired emotions, participants rated how
often they wanted to experience various emotions in their daily life. To assess the actual experience
of emotions, participants rated how often they experienced the same emotions in their daily life.
All ratings were made on 1 (= never) to 5 (= most of the time) scales. We assessed self-
transcending emotions (i.e., love, affection, trust, empathy, compassion; = .59 and .66 for desiredα
1 In Tamir et al. (2016), we examined links between values and desired emotions, controlling for
experienced emotions. No analyses were reported in that paper involving well-being or depressive
symptoms. In contrast, the current study investigates relations of well-being and depressive
symptoms to discrepancies between the two types of emotions. This study does not concern values
at all and includes the emotions themselves as controls rather than the predictors of interest.
and experienced emotions, respectively), negative self-enhancing emotions (i.e., anger, contempt,
hostility, hatred; = .66 and .70 for desired and experienced emotions, respectively)α2, opening
emotions (i.e., interest, curiosity, excitement, enthusiasm, passion; = .64 and .70 for desired and α
experienced emotions, respectively), and conserving emotions (i.e., calmness, relaxation, relief,
contentment; = .53 and .67 for desired and experienced emotions, respectively). Emotion terms α
were presented in a predetermined and fixed order.3
To confirm that our emotion indices were empirically distinct, we ran principal axis factor
analyses with varimax rotation, separately on desired and experienced emotions, imposing four-
factor solutions. The scree plots and eigenvalues supported the choice of four factor solutions.
Table 2 presents the varimax rotated factor matrices for experienced and desired emotions,
respectively. The table presents only loadings greater than .20. In each matrix, the items assigned a
priori to each emotion composite loaded positively and most highly on one factor. For desired
emotions, negative self-enhancing emotions loaded on Factor 1, conserving emotions on factor 2,
opening emotions on factor 3, and self-transcending emotions on factor 4. For experienced
emotions, conserving emotions loaded on factor 1, negative self-enhancing emotions on factor 2,
2 The original composite included ‘pride’ as an additional item. However, to compare feeling
‘right’ to ‘feeling good’ we created a composite that is exclusively negative in valence and dropped
this item from the composite. We refer to the new composite as capturing ‘negative self-enhancing
3 For desired emotions, items were presented in the following order: contentment, affection,
enthusiasm, interest, compassion, contempt, curiosity, trust, excitement, hostility, pride, empathy,
passion, hatred, calmness, relief, relaxation, love, and anger. For experienced emotions, items
were presented in the following order: empathy, compassion, excitement, hostility, relief, calmness,
passion, pride, enthusiasm, love, contempt, curiosity, anger, relaxation, contentment, affection,
interest, trust, and hatred. The order of the desired emotion terms differed from the order of
experienced emotion terms.
self-transcending emotions on factor 3, and opening emotions on factor 4. These findings lend
support to the discriminant validity of the four desired and experienced emotions scales.
Well-being and depressive symptoms. We assessed well-being with the Satisfaction with
Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985) that includes 5 items ( = .83) rated α
on a strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (7) scale. We measured depressive symptoms with the
10-item ( = .83) version of the Center of Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES–D; α
Andresen, Malmgren, Carter, & Patrick, 1994). Participants rated how frequency they experienced
each symptom on a scale from rarely or none of the time (1) to most or all of the time (4).
Cross-cultural measurement equivalence. We applied multi-group confirmatory factor
analyses (MGCFA) to test the measurement equivalence of our measures (e.g., Byrne, Shavelson,
& Muthen, 1989; Vandenberg & Lance, 2000). These analyses are important to ensure that
individuals from different cultures responded to our measures in comparable ways. We evaluated
the models with multiple fit indices (Hu & Bentler, 1999; Marsh, Hau, & Wen, 2004). First, for
each measure, we tested whether items loaded on the same latent factor across cultures (i.e.,
configural invariance). Second, we tested whether the loadings of items on their latent factors were
equal across cultures (i.e., metric invariance). All our measures demonstrated either partial or full
metric invariance. This indicates that each of the cultural groups calibrate their measures the same
way, so the manifest scales have the same meaning across groups. This justifies comparing patterns
of associations between measures across cultures. Finally, we tested whether item intercepts were
equal across cultures (i.e., scalar invariance). As is often the case in cross-cultural studies, our
measures did not demonstrate scalar invariance. This means that identical observed scores do not
necessarily map on to the same latent scores across cultures. Hence, it is not appropriate to
compare means across cultures.
The final metric invariance model for the life satisfaction scale had good fit (CFI = .965,
RMSEA = .033, SRMR = .048), as did the final metric invariance model for the depressive
symptoms scale (CFI = .967, RMSEA = .021, SRMR = .065). The metric equivalence of
experienced and desired self-transcending, opening, and conserving emotions was established and
the relevant fit coefficients are reported in Tamir et al. (2016). Because we dropped ‘pride’ from
our original self-enhancement composite, we reran the measurement equivalence models for
desired and experienced self-enhancement, excluding pride. The partial metric invariance model
for the negative self-enhancing emotions had good fit for experienced emotions (CFI = .989,
RMSEA = .049, SRMR = .030) and adequate fit for desired emotions (CFI = .913, RMSEA = .097,
SRMR = .069).
Human Development Scores. The Human Development Index (HDI) provides scores that
rank countries on their level of development. HDI combines indicators of life expectancy,
education, and per capita income. We used HDI scores for 2013 (Human Development Report,
2014), the year we gathered our data.
Discrepancies between Experienced and Desired Emotions
To compute discrepancy scores, we subtracted experienced emotions from desired
emotions, separately for each target emotion category. We use difference scores because they
provide an intuitively clear, direct representation of the conceptual discrepancy between desired
and experienced emotions. Below, we explain how we dealt with the limitations of difference
scores (Griffin, Murray, & Gonzalez, 1999; Zuckerman, Gagne, Nafshi, Knee, & Kieffer, 2002).
Figure 1 presents the histograms, means, and standard deviations for the discrepancies in each
emotion category. On average, people desired more pleasant (i.e., self-transcending, opening, and
conserving emotions) and less unpleasant (i.e., negative self-enhancing) emotions than they
experienced. However, there was substantial variation in discrepancy scores. Many individuals
desired more pleasant emotions than they experienced, but some desired less. For instance, 11% of
our sample wanted to feel less self-transcending emotions, such as love and empathy, than they
actually felt. Many individuals desired less unpleasant emotions than they experienced, but some
desired more. For instance, 10% of our sample wanted to feel more negative self-enhancing
emotions, such as anger and hatred, than they actually felt.
Happiness and Absolute Discrepancies between Experienced and Desired Emotions
Correlations. We examined correlations of absolute emotional discrepancy scores with
well-being and depressive symptoms within each emotion category.4 We examined the correlations
in the entire sample and separately for people who desired more frequent emotions than they
experienced and for people who desires less frequent emotions than they experienced. As shown in
Table 3, greater absolute discrepancies between experienced and desired emotions correlated with
lower life satisfaction and more depressive symptoms. This was true for people who felt less
pleasant and more unpleasant emotions than they desired, but, critically for the Aristotelian
hypotheses, it was also true for people who felt more pleasant and less unpleasant emotions than
they desired.
Multilevel modeling. We predicted that smaller absolute discrepancies between desired
and experienced emotions would be associated with greater well-being and less depressive
symptoms, even when controlling for experienced and desired emotions. We further predicted that
such patterns would hold across cultural samples. We tested these hypotheses with multilevel
4 In these analyses, we weighted samples equally to control for unequal sample sizes.
modeling analyses using the Hierarchical Linear Modeling program HLM 7.0 (Raudenbush, Bryk,
Cheong, Congdon, & Du Toit, 2011). For each of our four target emotion categories, we tested one
model that predicted well-being and another that predicted depressive symptoms. The predictor
variable was the absolute discrepancy between desired and experienced emotion, controlling for
experienced emotion, desired emotion, gender, and age. The effects of a discrepancy score may be
due to either or both of the variables from which it is derived and with which it is correlated. We,
therefore, included both experienced and desired emotions as predictors to control for their effects.
Any effect of the absolute discrepancy scores over and above the effects of the experienced and
desired emotions can then be attributed to the discrepancy between them (see Dyrenforth, Kashy,
Donnellan, & Lucas, 2010).5 In our analyses, gender was grand-mean centered and other predictors
were group-mean centered. By running random-coefficient regression models, we also tested
whether effects of the absolute discrepancy and control variables varied across cultures. Below is
an example of a level-1 equation predicting life satisfaction:
SWLSij=β0j + β1jGender + β2jAge + β3jExperienced Emotion + β4jDesired Emotion +
β5jABS(Desired-Experienced Emotion) + rij
β0j is the mean level of life satisfaction across groups. βij are the average regression coefficients of
the predictor variables across groups. rij is the individual level variance in life satisfaction that the
predictor variables do not explain.
Table 4 presents the results of the HLM analyses predicting life satisfaction. As expected,
experiencing more frequent positive emotions (i.e., self-transcending, opening, and conserving
5 A reviewer noted that discrepancy scores may have different effects depending on experienced
emotions. To test this possibility requires adding an interaction term between the discrepancy
scores and experienced emotions to the multi-level models for each emotion. We conducted these
analyses. They did not affect the conclusions reported below. Part 1 of the Supplementary
Materials describes the results of these additional analyses.
emotions) and less frequent negative emotions (i.e., negative self-enhancing emotions) predicted
greater life satisfaction (row 4). Similarly, desiring more frequent positive emotions and less
frequent negative emotions also predicted greater life satisfaction (row 5). Critically, supporting
our hypothesis, smaller absolute discrepancies between experienced and desired emotions
predicted greater life satisfaction for all four emotion categories (row 6).
The random effects analyses assessed variation across cultures. Life satisfaction varied
across cultures (row 7) as did the effects of desired negative self-enhancing and opening emotions
(row 11). In contrast, effects of experienced emotions (row 10) and of desired self-transcending
and conservation emotions did not vary across cultures (row 11). Critically for our hypothesis, the
effects of the absolute discrepancies between experienced and desired emotions on life satisfaction
did not vary by culture, except for self-transcending emotions (row 12). Smaller absolute
discrepancies between experienced and desired self-transcending emotions predicted greater life
satisfaction in every country, but this effect was not significant in Ghana (slope = -.15, p = .34) and
China (slope = -.42, p = .071).
Table 5 presents the results of the HLM analyses predicting depressive symptoms. As
expected, experiencing less frequent positive emotions (i.e., self-transcending, opening, and
conserving emotions) and more frequent negative emotions (i.e., negative self-enhancing)
predicted depressive symptoms (row 4). Similarly, desiring more frequent negative emotions and
less frequent positive emotions (row 5) predicted depressive symptoms. Supporting our hypothesis,
larger absolute discrepancies between experienced and desired emotions predicted depressive
symptoms for all emotion categories (row 6).
The random effects analyses revealed that depressive symptoms varied across cultures (row
7). Effects of experienced emotions (row 10) and desired emotions (row 11) on depressive
symptoms did not vary across cultures, except for desired opening emotions. Critically for our
hypothesis, the effects of the absolute discrepancies between experienced and desired emotions on
depressive symptoms did not vary by culture, except for self-transcending emotions (row 12).
Larger absolute discrepancies between experienced and desired self-transcending emotions
predicted more depressive symptoms in every country, but this effect was not significant in Ghana
(slope = .08, p = .224) or China (slope = .02, p = .856).6
Variation across cultures. As noted, for self-transcending emotions, the effects of emotion
discrepancies on life satisfaction and on depressive symptoms varied across cultures. In order to
understand the source of this variation, we examined whether socioeconomic development, one of
the most important characteristics on which countries differ, moderated this effect. Specifically, we
tested the possible moderation effect of the country level of development as indexed by HDI. We
did this by running the multi-level analyses for self-transcending emotions with HDI as a level-2
predictor and as a moderator of the effect of the absolute emotion discrepancy score. The cross-
level interaction between HDI and the absolute discrepancy tested the moderation effect.
Table 6 presents the results of these analyses for both life satisfaction (left) and depressive
symptoms (right). The interactions between HDI and the absolute discrepancy were significant for
both (row 8). This indicates that the country level of development moderated the effects of the
6 In addition to testing the effects of absolute discrepancy scores, we tested the quadratic effect of
the signed difference scores on life satisfaction and depression in another series of multi-level
models. Predictors in these models included gender, age, experienced emotions, desired emotions,
the signed discrepancy scores, and the squared discrepancy scores. All these models yielded
significant fixed effects for the squared discrepancy scores, as hypothesized. Indeed, in 7 of the 8
models the squared discrepancy score was the only significant predictor. However, these models
did not produce reliable estimates of random effects due to multicollinearity between the
experienced or desired emotions and the signed discrepancy scores. We, therefore, report the
findings with absolute differences in the text and provide the fixed effects of the quadratic models
in Part 2 of the Supplementary Materials.
absolute discrepancy between desired and experienced emotions on life satisfaction and on
depressive symptoms. Moreover, once this moderation effect was included, no significant cross-
cultural variation in the effects of the absolute discrepancy remained (row 16). Figure 2 portrays
the significant interactions. Figure 2 (left) portrays the slopes for the interaction predicting life
satisfaction and Figure 2 (right) portrays the slopes for the interaction predicting depressive
Figure 2 (left) shows that life satisfaction dropped more sharply in more developed than in
less developed countries as the discrepancy people felt between the self-transcending emotions
(e.g., love and empathy) they desired and those they experienced increased. Figure 2 (right) shows
that depressive symptoms rose more sharply in more developed than in less developed countries as
the discrepancy people felt between the self-transcending emotions (e.g., love and empathy) they
desired and those they experienced increased.
For Aristotle, happiness entailed feeling the right feelings (Nicomachean Ethics, 1105b25–
6). What feels right, in turn, differs across people and situations. Happier people, he argued, are
those who feel what they consider the right feelings, given their unique circumstances. Our
findings support Aristotle’s claims empirically. We found that happier people are those who more
frequently experience the emotions they want to experience, whether those emotions are pleasant
(e.g., love or excitement) or unpleasant (e.g., anger and hatred).
What feels right often feels good. However, the two types of feelings are conceptually
distinct and do not necessarily overlap. Our design enabled us to distinguish empirically between
these two types of feelings and to test whether happiness is linked to maximizing ‘right’ feelings
even if they are not ‘good’ feelings. Consistent with the predictions of the traditional SWB
approach, we found that people were happier the more they experienced pleasant emotions and the
less they experienced unpleasant emotions, on average. However, over and above this effect, we
also found that people were happier when they experienced smaller discrepancies between the
emotions they experienced and the emotions they desired. The secret to happiness, then, may
involve not only feeling good but also feeling right.
Implications for Studying Emotions and Well-being
In this investigation, we adopted Aristotle’s ideas regarding the potential links between
emotions and happiness. This Aristotelian model differs from hedonic models of well-being
because it suggests that both pleasant and unpleasant emotional experiences may be linked to well-
being if they feel ‘right’. Emotional experiences feel right when people perceive them as desirable,
given their motives and the situational context. The Aristotelian model also differs from extant
eudaimonic models of well-being. First, eudaimonic models (e.g., Ryan & Deci, 2001; Ryff, 1989)
assume the universal importance of specific life domains or psychological needs for all people and
cultures. For instance, Ryff’s (1989) eudaimonic model assumes that eudaimonia consists in
functioning well in six life domains: autonomy, self-acceptance, environmental mastery, personal
growth, purpose in life, and positive relations with others. Similarly, Ryan and Deci’s (2001) well-
being model assumes that the satisfaction of basic human needs such as autonomy, competence,
and relatedness is key. In contrast, our current research concerns feeling “right” emotions rather
than functioning well in specific life domains or satisfying basic psychological needs. Second, like
SWB models (e.g., Diener, 2013), eudaimonic models focus on positive attributes such as
autonomy, successful goal pursuit, and positive relations (e.g., Emmons, 1986; Sheldon & Kasser,
1995; Waterman, 1984). None of these models posits that well-being may derive from feeling
anger or hatred.
The hedonic, eudaimonic, and Aristotelian models of happiness are likely to overlap to
some extent and to complement each other. For instance, it is plausible that emotions feel right
when basic human needs are satisfied and that satisfying such needs induces positive affect. In
such cases, happiness reflects feeling right, satisfying basic needs, and maximizing pleasure.
However, to attain the best understanding of happiness and its variation across people, it is
important to identify the unique cases in which the models of happiness make opposing
predictions. The current investigation identified cases in which people are happier when they feel
right even if they do not feel good. Of course, such cases are less common, but studying them
enabled us to compare the predictions of different models. It demonstrated the unique importance
of feeling right for happiness, independent of pleasure and pain.
Our findings show that happiness depends, in part, on the match between what people feel
and what they want to feel. Consequently, understanding the link between emotions and happiness
requires studying not only experienced emotions but also desired emotions. Our findings reinforce
the evidence for the potential role of desired emotions in well-being (e.g., Bastian, Kuppens, De
Roover, & Diener, 2014) and depression (e.g., Millgram, Joormann, Huppert, & Tamir, 2015).
They highlight the importance of understanding what people strive for emotionally. Consistent
with the importance of discrepancies between actual and desired states (e.g., Higgins, 1999), our
findings further highlight the importance of understanding how people compare their experienced
emotional state to the emotions they strive for.
Implications for Studying Emotions and Well-Being across Cultures
The emotions people desire differ substantially across individuals, cultures, and situations
(for a review, see Tamir, 2016). If well-being is linked to discrepancies between experienced and
desired emotions, researchers and practitioners must be sensitive to such differences in desired
emotions and understand what underlies them. Some people may be happier if they experience
more empathy, and some may be happier if they experience more anger, at least to some extent.
Such patterns are likely to depend on cultural contexts (e.g., De Leersnyder, Heejung, & Mesquita,
2015; Ford et al., 2015). To enhance happiness around the world, researchers should acknowledge
and respect the differences in the emotions people desire and understand how they vary across
Although we found that people across cultures differ in the emotions they experience and
desire, people were generally happier the more their emotional experiences matched the emotions
they desired. This held for negative self-enhancing (e.g., anger, contempt), opening (e.g., interest,
excitement), and conserving (e.g., calmness, relief) emotions. However, for self-transcending
emotions (e.g., empathy, love), the effects of the match between experienced and desired emotions
on happiness varied somewhat across countries. Specifically, the match between experienced and
desired self-transcendence values enhanced life satisfaction and reduced reported symptoms of
depression more in highly developed countries than in less developed countries. Unlike the other
emotions we examined, self-transcending emotions (e.g., love, trust) are linked to social
connectedness. Social connectedness, in turn, is presumably a basic human need and a key
determinant of well-being (e.g., Myers & Diener, 1995; Ryan & Deci, 2001). Perhaps, therefore,
for people who struggle to meet their basic needs, the amount of love they actually feel matters
more for their happiness than whether this amount feels right or not. Future research should
explore further when, why, and how the links between emotion discrepancies and well-being varies
across countries.
Limitations and Future Directions
Our correlational design has several limitations. First, our findings are consistent with two
interpretations (see Hardin & Larsen, 2014; Larsen & McKibban, 2008) – namely, that happiness
is related to greater ideal self-actualization (i.e., experiencing emotions one desires) or to greater
actual self-regard (i.e., desiring emotions one experiences). By providing empirical evidence for
links of happiness to discrepancies between desired and experienced emotions, our findings
highlight the need to consider these potential accounts. Testing each account is an important task
for future research.
Second, our findings do not allow us to infer causality. Smaller discrepancies between
experienced and desired emotions may lead to greater happiness, but it is also plausible that people
who experience greater happiness report smaller discrepancies between experienced and desired
emotions. Future research should employ experimental designs to test these possibilities. It would
also be beneficial to use longitudinal designs to examine experienced emotions, desired emotions,
and happiness as they evolve and interact over time.
Finally, we investigated a limited set of emotion categories. Our selection was based on the
idea, which was tested elsewhere (Tamir et al., 2016), that certain categories of emotions map on to
certain values. Whereas our previous investigation was focused on differences between emotion
categories, in this investigation, we highlight a principle that applies equally across them.
Regardless of whether emotions differed as a function of values, valence or other dimensions,
smaller discrepancies between desired and experienced emotion was linked to greater happiness.
The emotion categories we examined allowed us to compare emotions that differ in valence but not
arousal (i.e., negative self-enhancing and opening emotions), in arousal but not valence (i.e.,
opening and conserving emotions), and in other ways (e.g., self-transcending emotions and
opening emotions). We did, however, examine a limited set of emotions. For instance, we assessed
only one category of unpleasant emotions (i.e., negative self-enhancing emotions). Future research
could test whether the current effects generalize to other negative emotions such as fear, guilt,
sadness and shame, and assess potential cultural differences.
What emotions should people strive for to be happy? Consistent with Aristotle’s claims, our
investigation suggests that people are happier when they experience emotions they desire, whether
such emotions are pleasant or unpleasant. To the extent that people desire emotions that are
consistent with their values, this suggests that happiness entails feeling emotions that are valued, as
determined by the unique personal, social, and cultural context of each individual.
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1796 < 0 0 < 236
255 < 0 0 < 1816 M = -.63
SD = .69
M = .53
SD = .57
Figure 1. Distributions of the discrepancies between experienced and desired emotions for the four
types of emotions. Means and standard deviations are noted on the upper right of each graph. The
dotted line represents zero discrepancy. Number of people in the sample who were below the
dotted line (i.e., experienced more frequent emotions than they desired) or above it (i.e., desired
more frequent emotions than they experienced) are listed to the left and right of it, respectively.
The normal curve is depicted in black on each histogram.
229 < 0 0 < 1871 M = .84
SD = .73
M = .59
SD = .59
190 < 0 0 < 1962
HDI below
HDI above
HDI above
HDI below
Figure 2. Life satisfaction (left) and depressive symptoms (right) as a function of the absolute
discrepancy between experienced and desired self-transcending emotions (+/- 1 SD from the
mean) in countries above and below the mean of HDI in our sample.
Country N%
Language Age M (SD) %
Mode %
Brazil 65
64 Portugues
8% Online 17
China 21
53 Chinese 20.82
1% Paper and pencil 53
Germany 20
50 German 25.03
10% Paper and pencil
and online
Ghana 20
59 English 22.90
3% Paper and pencil 46
Israel 24
53 Hebrew 24.21
12% Online 24
Poland 29
52 Polish 21.72
3% Paper and pencil 7
Singapore 20
69 English 21.23
0% Online 12
United States 30
54 English 19.51
0% Online 34
Table 1. Sample characteristics.
Table 2. Varimax rotated matrices from principal axis factor analyses of experienced (left) and desired (right) emotions.
Desired emotions
Item Factor Item Factor
Relaxation .698 Hatred .644 -.205
Calmness .620 Hostility .619
t.604 Anger .502 -.202
Relief .451 Contempt .500
Hatred -.201 .701 Relaxation -.265 .563
Hostility .626 Relief .488
Contempt .528 Calmness -.231 .389
Anger -.261 .494 Contentmen
t-.227 .388
Compassion .725 Curiosity .592
Empathy .565 Interest .267 .532
Love .279 -.266 .437 Enthusiasm .264 .509
Trust .266 -.287 .363 Passion .239 .434
Affection .224 -.230 .361 Excitement -.284 .341
Interest .301 .201 .582 Compassion
Curiosity .556 Empathy .239
Enthusiasm .292 .215 .498 Affection .281
Excitement -.249 .244 .415 Love -.263 .235
Passion .275 .292 .389 Trust -.345 .265
Table 3. Zero-order correlations between indices of well-being and depressive symptoms and
absolute discrepancies of desired and experienced emotions, separately for each target emotion
Emotions Sample Life satisfaction Depressive symptoms
Self-transcending Total -.24 .30
Experienced > Desired -.18 .18
Desired > Experienced -.27 .32
Negative self-
Total -.22 .36
Experienced > Desired -.22 .38
Desired > Experienced -.20 .17
Opening Total -.20 .26
Experienced > Desired -.00a.10
Desired > Experienced -.23 .27
Conserving Total -.21 .34
Experienced > Desired -.02a.11
Desired > Experienced -.24 .36
M(SD) 4.21 (1.16) 1.96 (.53)
a p > .05, for all other entries p < .05.
Note: The table presents correlations in the entire sample (Total) and separately for individuals
who experienced the emotion more frequently than they wanted to experience it (Experienced >
Desired) and individuals who wanted to experience the emotion less frequently than they actually
did (Desired > Experienced).
Table 4. Multilevel models predicting life satisfaction from the absolute discrepancy of desired and experienced emotion, controlling
for gender, age, experienced emotion, and desired emotion.
Self-Transcending Negative self-
Enhancing Opening Conserving
Coeff. SE Coeff. SE Coeff. SE Coeff. SE
Fixed effects
Overall mean 4.33** .11 4.33*** .11 4.33*** .11 4.34*** .11
Gender -.001 .06 0.10 .06 .13* .06 .18* .07
Age -.05* .02 -.04 .02 -.04 .02 -.03 .01
Experienced emotion .26* .08 -.39** .11 .38** .09 .55*** .08
Desired emotion .24* .07 -.11 .10 .08 .10 .12 .07
Absolute discrepancy -.61** .12 -.26* .09 -.41** .08 -.27** .08
Random effects Variance X2Variance X2Variance X2Variance X2
Culture sample mean .09 132.67*** .09 133.60*** .09 133.77*** .10 145.56***
Gender slope .006 6.18 .007 5.10 .007 6.52 .02 10.08
Age slope .002 50.82*** .002 41.92*** .002 40.44*** .001 25.56***
Experienced emotion slope .02 14.25 .054 15.67* .29 10.68 .02 11.68
Desired emotion slope .01 9.61 .05 15.19* .05 15.32* .02 7.55
Absolute discrepancy slope .09 22.89** .03 7.92 .02 7.72 .02 4.95
% variance explained .15 .12 .13 .17
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001
Table 5. Multilevel models predicting depressive symptoms from the absolute discrepancy of desired and experienced emotion,
controlling for gender, age, experienced emotion, and desired emotion.
Self-Transcending Negative self-
Enhancing Opening Conserving
Coeff. SE Coeff. SE Coeff. SE Coeff. SE
Fixed effects
Overall mean 1.95*** .04 1.95*** .04 1.95*** .04 1.95*** .04
Gender .05 .04 .03 .03 .01 .04 -.01 .04
Age .002 .004 -.0008 .003 -.002 .003 -.003 .003
Experienced emotion -.11* .03 .26*** .04 -.12* .04 -.26*** .04
Desired emotion -.02 .03 .06 .03 -.07 .04 -.02 .03
Absolute discrepancy .26** .06 .10* .03 .23** .05 .14** .04
Random effects Variance X2Variance X2Variance X2Variance X2
Culture sample mean .01 91.89*** .01 103.27*** .01 93.99*** .01 102.43***
Gender slope .01 27.10*** .003 14.22* .009 23.05** .006 18.67**
Age slope .0001 8.65 .00001 8.80 .00001 7.07 .00002 5.17
Experienced emotion slope .002 12.05 .006 14.53* .003 6.01 .009 12.06
Desired emotion slope .002 10.71 .002 6.54 .008 14.13* .003 8.44
Absolute discrepancy slope .02 21.12** .0003 7.32 .009 7.75 .004 8.34
% variance explained .11 .18 .12 .18
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001
Table 6. Multilevel models testing whether socio-economic development (HDI) moderates the
effects of the absolute discrepancy between desired and experienced self-transcending emotions
on life satisfaction (left) and depressive symptoms (right)
satisfaction Depressive symptoms
Coeff. SE Coeff. SE
Fixed effects
4.33*** .11 1.95*** .04
Gender .002 .05 .05 .04
Age -.05 .02 .0002 .005
.26* .09 -.10 .04
.24* .08 -.03 .04
-.61*** .08 .27*** .04
HDI 1.74 .76 -.23 .33
-2.1** .48 .88* .29
Variance X2Variance X2
sample mean
.09 113.61*** .01 90.38***
.006 6.25 .01 27.22***
Age slope .002 48.51*** .00009 9.52
emotion slope
.03 13.37 .008 12.09
emotion slope
.03 9.63 .005 10.73
.02 5.09 .005 6.84
1.12 .25
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001
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... According to Seligman (2018), happiness is part of well-being, life satisfaction or the same in the absence of psychological pressure. Equipped with Tamir, Schwartz, Oishi, and Kim (2017) happiness is something that overlaps or complements each other, eg feel positive feelings when someone can fulfill a need basis in his life, it describes a positive effect. ...
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Period teenager is period which urgent within range life, because is period something period transition, a time of change, a troubled age, a moment where individual look for identity, age which raises Fright, period which no realistic, and as threshold adulthood. Based on the stages of its development, adolescence is called a transitional period because it is experiencing physiological development, emotional development and social development which will cause fear, anxiety and even self-doubt. Happiness depends on how young people keep themselves in a condition to make the best use of our energy. Teenagers should feel happy at school and learning with teachers in class. Teacher BK / Counselor is wrong one educator which role in help students overcome obstacles or problems and develop potency which owned student in school including student happiness. One learning model that can increase student happiness in class is the quantum learning model. the Quantum learning model seeks to maximize all the elements contained in learning including all the potential and abilities that exist in students. This is intended to make the learning carried out by the teacher maximal and students also absorb the material presented maximally. The current research is descriptive qualitative with a literature study that seeks to provide an overview of the application of the Quantum learning model to increase adolescent happiness. This paper presents the problem of adolescent happiness at school, steps to apply the Quantum learning model and increase adolescent happiness at school. This research uses literature study / literature study, by reviewing several research results, articles, books and case studies that occur in the field.
... These are motivated from a, culturally interpreted, distinction between an appetitive system associated with positive or pleasant feelings and an aversive system associated with negative or unpleasant feelings [121], but these terms are, in no way, used here to suggest an association with rationality, or with happiness and wellbeing. Positive psychology research suggests that emotions can be positive in some contexts and negative in others, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant [122]. ...
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BACKGROUND: Infectious disease outbreaks account for significant global costs in human lives, social implications, and financial burden. It is considered possible to minimise the consequences of catastrophic viral outbreaks through advance preparation and effective communication. To prepare effectively, it is important to understand the political, social, economic and cultural factors that impact on the epidemic spread and shape human responses and action. Despite the capacity of human emotions to influence all these issues, they have been largely neglected in public health. AIM: To ascertain if there are emotional determinants impacting population responses to infectious diseases outbreaks and understand how such emotions are influenced by the social and wider determinants related to the local context where outbreaks emerge. METHODS: A systematic review that explores the differences in public responses by emotion, infection, outcome and region, and five in-depth case studies of infectious diseases outbreaks at a national level to understand how responses are shaped by the local and global context of the time. FINDINGS: There are emotional determinants that influence public responses to epidemics and pandemics and impact on the uptake of interventions. To improve the effectiveness of public health communications in the face of emerging outbreaks, certain important messages emerged in my research, including the need to disrupt the power dynamics of “top-down” communications, build trust between global and local actors (as well as with governments), and harness the potential role of traditional media and social media for good and connection. Which emotions are evoked through public health communications is also important, as fear and panic were shown to be counterproductive in promoting uptake of interventions, but worry and empathy emerged as key motivators for action. CONCLUSIONS: Both in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and for future emerging infectious diseases outbreaks, emotions need to be considered in crisis communications.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of job insecurity and organizational citizenship behavior on the intention to become whistleblowing. To obtain sufficient statistical results, this research uses 48 respondents who have knowledge of cases of sexual harassment that occurred in the organization where they work. To examine the relationship between constructs and the potential differences in perceptions that exist, the researchers used a path analysis technique assisted by the Smart PLS version 3. The results showed that the constructs of job insecurity and organizational citizenship behavior had a significant impact in shaping intentions to become whistleblowers in cases of sexual harassment in Indonesia. organization where they work. However, there are differences in perception between male and female workers in reporting these acts of sexual harassment Keywords: sexual harassment; job insecurity; whistleblowing; organizational citizenship behavior
Happiness is one of the main goals of human life. Various ways are taken in order to achieve a certain level of happiness that involves experiences and emotions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is present as one of the human efforts to achieve happiness. Through Artificial intelligence, humans are facilitated in supporting various activities. This paper aims to find out the impact of Artificial Intelligence on human happiness. This research uses qualitative research methods with a literature study approach. Data collection through literature review is related to the research focus, in the form of literature review, theory and government regulation documents. The source of primary material in this study is various literature that directly discusses Artificial Intelligence and the Psychology of Happiness through the Theory of Literature. Other sources are research findings, discussion results, seminars, etc. Library materials are then discussed and analyzed critically and in depth to support existing propositions and ideas from various references. The results showed that as an innovation, Artificial Intelligence clearly affects various aspects of human life, one of which is the mobility aspect. With the convenience obtained with Artificial Intelligence allows the occurrence of negative impacts that have the potential to appear in line with the negative impacts of the use of technology itself but, in the view of happiness psychology, as expressed by Seligmen, Artificial Intelligence is not fully capable of guaranteeing one’s happiness. The sense of comfort and security offered by Artificial intelligence is pseudo-happiness in the perspective of happiness theory.KeywordsHappinessArtificial IntelligenceTechnology
Infodemics—particularly the spread of misinformation and disinformation—are recognized as global threats to democracy, public health, and social cohesion. In this inquiry, we explore the marketing origins of infodemics to consider their content, genesis, and evolution. We conduct a systematic literature review to (i) synthesize the multi-disciplinary research on mis-/disinformation (including marketing, public policy, psychology, information systems, computer science, and political science) and (ii) develop a prescriptive and generative framework to stimulate research that helps counteract infodemics via disclosures and warning labels. Our model considers the ways that label characteristics impact consumer response to mis-/disinformation, as well as how contextual and consumer factors may interact with aspects of labels to drive affective and cognitive responses, subsequently influencing attitudes, intentions, and behaviors related to labels, media content, and others. The influence of other consumers, as well as firm and policy interventions, on these outcomes is also considered. Thus, this inquiry presents a comprehensive model that bridges emerging literature across disciplines to present a holistic view of both infodemics and infodemic-related warning labels and proposes directions for future research and practical solutions related to the use of warning labels to counteract infodemics.
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This article presents a theory of 7 cultural value orientations that form 3 cultural value dimensions. This theory permits more finely tuned characterization of cultures than other theories. It is distinctive in deriving the cultural orientations from a priori theorizing . It also specifies a coherent, integrated system of relations among the orientations, postulating that they are interdependent rather than orthogonal. Analyses of data from 73 countries, using two different instruments, validate the 7 cultural orientations and the structure of interrelations among them. Conceptual and empirical comparisons of these orientations with Inglehart’s two dimensions clarify similarities and differences. Using the cultural orientations, I generate a worldwide empirical mapping of 76 national cultures that identifies 7 transnational cultural groupings: West European, English-speaking, Latin American, East European, South Asian, Confucian influenced, and African and Middle Eastern. I briefly discuss distinctive cultural characteristics of these groupings. I then examine examples of socioeconomic, political, and demographic factors that give rise to national differences on the cultural value dimensions, factors that are themselves reciprocally influenced by culture. Finally, I examine consequences of prevailing cultural value orientations for attitudes and behavior (e.g., conventional morality, opposition to immigration, political activism) and argue that culture mediates the effects of major social structural variables on them.
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Goodness-of-fit (GOF) indexes provide "rules of thumb"—recommended cutoff values for assessing fit in structural equation modeling. Hu and Bentler (1999) proposed a more rigorous approach to evaluating decision rules based on GOF indexes and, on this basis, proposed new and more stringent cutoff values for many indexes. This article discusses potential problems underlying the hypothesis-testing rationale of their research, which is more appropriate to testing statistical significance than evaluating GOF. Many of their misspecified models resulted in a fit that should have been deemed acceptable according to even their new, more demanding criteria. Hence, rejection of these acceptable-misspecified models should have constituted a Type 1 error (incorrect rejection of an "acceptable" model), leading to the seemingly paradoxical results whereby the probability of correctly rejecting misspecified models decreased substantially with increasing N. In contrast to the application of cutoff values to evaluate each solution in isolation, all the GOF indexes were more effective at identifying differences in misspecification based on nested models. Whereas Hu and Bentler (1999) offered cautions about the use of GOF indexes, current practice seems to have incorporated their new guidelines without sufficient attention to the limitations noted by Hu and Bentler (1999).
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Values reflect how people want to experience the world; emotions reflect how people actually experience the world. Therefore, we propose that across cultures people desire emotions that are consistent with their values. Whereas prior research focused on the desirability of specific affective states or one or two target emotions, we offer a broader account of desired emotions. After reporting initial evidence for the potential causal effects of values on desired emotions in a preliminary study (N = 200), we tested the predictions of our proposed model in eight samples (N = 2,328) from distinct world cultural regions. Across cultural samples, we found that people who endorsed values of self-transcendence (e.g., benevolence) wanted to feel more empathy and compassion; people who endorsed values of self-enhancement (e.g., power) wanted to feel more anger and pride; people who endorsed values of openness to change (e.g., self-direction) wanted to feel more interest and excitement; and people who endorsed values of conservation (e.g., tradition) wanted to feel more calmness and less fear. These patterns were independent of differences in emotional experience. We discuss the implications of our value-based account of desired emotions for understanding emotion regulation, culture, and other individual differences.
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The current research tested the idea that it is the cultural fit of emotions, rather than certain emotions per se, that predicts psychological well-being. We reasoned that emotional fit in the domains of life that afford the realization of central cultural mandates would be particularly important to psychological well-being. We tested this hypothesis with samples from three cultural contexts that are known to differ with respect to their main cultural mandates: a European American (N = 30), a Korean (N = 80), and a Belgian sample (N = 266). Cultural fit was measured by comparing an individual’s patterns of emotions to the average cultural pattern for the same type of situation on the Emotional Patterns Questionnaire (De Leersnyder et al., 2011). Consistent with our hypothesis, we found evidence for “universality without uniformity”: in each sample, psychological well-being was associated with emotional fit in the domain that was key to the cultural mandate. However, cultures varied with regard to the particular domain involved. Psychological well-being was predicted by emotional fit (a) in autonomy-promoting situations at work in the U.S., (b) in relatedness-promoting situations at home in Korea, and (c) in both autonomy-promoting and relatedness-promoting situations in Belgium. These findings show that the experience of culturally appropriate patterns of emotions contributes to psychological well-being. One interpretation is that experiencing appropriate emotions is itself a realization of the cultural mandates.
Within- and between-nations differences in norms for experiencing emotions were analyzed in a cross-cultural study with 1,846 respondents from 2 individualistic (United States, Australia) and 2 collectivistic (China, Taiwan) countries. A multigroup latent class analysis revealed that there were both universal and culture-specific types of norms for experiencing emotions. Moreover, strong intranational variability in norms for affect could be detected, particularly for collectivistic nations. Unexpectedly, individualistic nations were most uniform in norms, particularly with regard to pleasant affect. Individualistic and collectivistic nations differed most strongly in norms for self-reflective emotions (e.g., pride and guilt). Norms for emotions were related to emotional experiences within nations. Furthermore, there were strong national differences in reported emotional experiences, even when norms were held constant.
Previous studies have demonstrated that European Americans have fewer mixed affective experiences (i.e., are less likely to experience the bad with the good) compared with Chinese. In this article, we argue that these cultural differences are due to "ideal affect," or how people ideally want to feel. Specifically, we predict that people from individualistic cultures want to maximize positive and minimize negative affect more than people from collectivistic cultures, and as a result, they are less likely to actually experience mixed emotions (reflected by a more negative within-person correlation between actual positive and negative affect). We find support for this prediction in 2 experience sampling studies conducted in the United States and China (Studies 1 and 2). In addition, we demonstrate that ideal affect is a distinct construct from dialectical view of the self, which has also been related to mixed affective experience (Study 3). Finally, in Study 4, we demonstrate that experimentally manipulating the desire to maximize the positive and minimize the negative alters participants' actual experience of mixed emotions during a pleasant (but not unpleasant or combined pleasant and unpleasant) TV clip in the United States and Hong Kong. Together, these findings suggest that across cultures, how people want to feel shapes how they actually feel, particularly people's experiences of mixed affect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Research on deficits in emotion regulation has devoted considerable attention to emotion-regulation strategies. We propose that deficits in emotion regulation may also be related to emotion-regulation goals. We tested this possibility by assessing the direction in which depressed people chose to regulate their emotions (i.e., toward happiness, toward sadness). In three studies, clinically depressed participants were more likely than nondepressed participants to use emotion-regulation strategies in a direction that was likely to maintain or increase their level of sadness. This pattern was found when using the regulation strategies of situation selection (Studies 1 and 2) and cognitive reappraisal (Study 3). The findings demonstrate that maladaptive emotion regulation may be linked not only to the means people use to regulate their emotions, but also to the ends toward which those means are directed. © The Author(s) 2015.
The science of subjective well-being (SWB) has grown dramatically in the last three decades, moving beyond the early cross-sectional surveys of the demographic correlates of SWB. Stronger methods are frequently used to study a broader set of psychological phenomena, such as the effects on SWB of adaptation, culture, personality, and genetics. One important new research finding is that SWB has beneficial effects on health and longevity, social relationships, and productivity. National accounts of SWB are being created to provide information to policy makers about the psychological well-being of citizens. The SWB accounts represent an opportunity for psychologists to demonstrate the positive effects their interventions can produce in societies. © The Author(s) 2013.
Emotion regulation involves the pursuit of desired emotional states (i.e., emotion goals) in the service of superordinate motives. The nature and consequences of emotion regulation, therefore, are likely to depend on the motives it is intended to serve. Nonetheless, limited attention has been devoted to studying what motivates emotion regulation. By mapping the potential benefits of emotion to key human motives, this review identifies key classes of motives in emotion regulation. The proposed taxonomy distinguishes between hedonic motives that target the immediate phenomenology of emotions, and instrumental motives that target other potential benefits of emotions. Instrumental motives include behavioral, epistemic, social, and eudaimonic motives. The proposed taxonomy offers important implications for understanding the mechanism of emotion regulation, variation across individuals and contexts, and psychological function and dysfunction, and points to novel research directions. © 2015 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.