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Happiness and arousal: framing happiness as arousing results in lower happiness ratings for older adults
University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Decis Research, OR USA.
University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
2015 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 6, no 703Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Older adults have been shown to describe their happiness as lower in arousal when compared to younger adults. In addition, older adults prefer low arousal positive emotions over high arousal positive emotions in their daily lives. We experimentally investigated whether or not changing a few words in the description of happiness could influence a persons rating of their happiness. We randomly assigned 193 participants, aged 22-92 years, to one of three conditions (high arousal, low arousal, or control). In line with previous findings, we found that older participants rated their happiness lower when framed as high in arousal (i.e., ecstatic, to be bursting with positive emotions) and rated their happiness higher when framed as low in arousal (i.e., satisfied, to have a life filled with positive emotions). Younger adults remained uninfluenced by the manipulation. Our study demonstrates that arousal is essential to understanding ratings of happiness, and gives support to the notion that there are age differences in the preference for arousal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers , 2015. Vol. 6, no 703
Keyword [en]
happiness; age; arousal; age-differences; emotion
National Category
Basic Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-120051DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00706ISI: 000356045400001PubMedID: 26097459OAI: diva2:839991

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council for Health, Working-Life and Welfare (FORTE); Board for Research Ethics Review (REC) at the University of Gothenburg

Available from: 2015-07-06 Created: 2015-07-06 Last updated: 2015-07-06

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Västfjäll, Daniel
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