Affective Component of Happiness [chapter]

Ruut Veenhoven
2014 Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research  
SYNONYMS Affect balance; Hedonic level of affect; Mood DEFINITION Hedonic level of affect is how well one feels most of the time. In other words, the degree to which positive affect typically outweighs negative affect. Estimates of how well we usually feel figure prominently in the evaluation of our life as a whole and as such hedonic level is a component of happiness. DESCRIPTION "Happiness" is commonly understood as the subjective enjoyment of one's life as a whole. When estimating how much
more » ... timating how much we like the life we live, we tend to use two more or less distinct sources of information: our affects and our thoughts. One can observe that one feels fine most of the time and one can also judge that life seems to meet one's (conscious) demands. These appraisals do not necessarily coincide. We may feel fine generally but nevertheless be aware that we failed to realize our aspirations. Or we may have surpassed our aspirations but nevertheless feel miserable. Using the word "happiness" in both these cases would result in three different kinds of happiness, the overall judgment as commonly denoted with the term and these two more specific appraisals of life. To mark these differences, Veenhoven (1984 Veenhoven ( , 2009 ) distinguishes between 'overall' happiness and 'components' of happiness and among the latter an affective component called "hedonic level of affect" and a cognitive component called "contentment." This conceptualization is at the basis of the World Database of Happiness. In this lemma, the affective component of happiness is described in more detail. The cognitive component of happiness is described in the lemma 'contentment'. Concept Hedonic level of affect is the degree to which various affects that someone experiences are pleasant in character. "Pleasantness" or "hedonic tone" is an experiential quality that exists in all human affects and probably also in animals. We experience both positive and negative affects, the former typically more often than the latter. Hedonic "level" is the degree.
doi:10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_43 fatcat:dmuhc4dm5nffnp2ydqgdy5uwqq