The nonobvious social psychology of happiness


Diener, E., & Oishi, S. (2005). The nonobvious social psychology of happiness. Psychological Inquiry, 16(4), 162-167.


Social psychology includes classic findings leading to conclusions that are widely known to all psychologists – for example, the power of situations, in-group biases and nonconscious influences on behavior. We will focus here instead on somewhat less known but very important avenues of study that have had a deep influence on our area of scholarship – research on well-being. We review five social psychological results, and demonstrate their nonobvious implications for the understanding of happiness: (1) Adaptation to life events and the resulting conclusion that happiness is a process rather than a place; (2) The necessity of close relationships for wellbeing and effective functioning; (3) The weighting of negative over positive stimuli in interactions; (4) The profound impact culture exerts on well-being, and (5) The reconstructive nature of memory, for one’s moods and emotions, resulting in separable short-versus long-term facets of happiness.

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