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In response to comment by Klevador on Be Happier
Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 20 April 2012 05:13:51AM 0 points [-]

Let's think in consequentialist terms here. You obviously put forth a lot of useful effort, thanks for that! But realistically, it seems plausible that the material is not being presented in a way that is maximally accessible, and your post could potentially be even more awesome than it already is!

I'm not suggesting you change anything at this point, just pointing stuff out.

In response to comment by John_Maxwell_IV on Be Happier
Comment author: Klevador 20 April 2012 09:48:45AM 0 points [-]

^ But, that can be said of too many things. I don't find it meaningful.

e.g. 'It's plausible that Harry Potter has not been written in the best possible way.'

Of course it's plausible, but the consideration of its plausibility does not contribute to making better-informed decisions. It contributes no useful information!

In response to comment by khafra on Be Happier
Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 04:35:44PM 14 points [-]

The outlines of the performance theory seem good, and it feels introspectively correct as well. But if happiness is a high-status marker, why is it unattractive to women?

I took a look at the paper, and in particular the sample image they include:

My first impression was a lot more attraction to the female 'pride' picture than any of the other female images - while pride in females was found to be highly unattractive. Now I want to determine whether my preferences differ from some norm or whether this picture is an unusual case.

I do allow that much of my preference may have been determined simply due to the combination of hideously unflattering t-shirts and arms being up in the air compensating for that and actually making breasts evident. If giving all the people ghostly shirts was supposed to be some clever attempt to isolate the influence of clothing then it seems somewhat shortsighted. (Mind you if males were consistently not attracted to the 'pride' female despite it being the only one with apparent breasts then that is just all the more significant!)

In response to comment by wedrifid on Be Happier
Comment author: Klevador 19 April 2012 02:44:29PM *  1 point [-]

Something that distorts my assessment of the images is the female's dowdy clothing, unflattering on the female figure except in the pride image. She looks like a shapeless flour sack in the other three pics.

On the male, the shirt seems 'alright', neutral.

In response to comment by MichaelVassar on Be Happier
Comment author: drethelin 17 April 2012 05:12:44AM 2 points [-]
In response to comment by drethelin on Be Happier
Comment author: Klevador 17 April 2012 07:05:20AM 3 points [-]
In response to Be Happier
Comment author: pnrjulius 17 April 2012 02:19:15AM 1 point [-]

This needs to be broken up into smaller, more digestible sub-articles. It's too much to take in all at once.

In response to comment by pnrjulius on Be Happier
Comment author: Klevador 17 April 2012 05:46:22AM *  4 points [-]

I don't know... you don't have to take it in all at once. You can read just one section at a time, after all. Each section has a link to it in the summary. What is the added advantage in splitting it up?

In response to Be Happier
Comment author: torekp 16 April 2012 07:28:49PM 2 points [-]

How do Philippe et al distinguish "obsessive" from "harmonious" passion?

In response to comment by torekp on Be Happier
Comment author: Klevador 17 April 2012 05:41:42AM *  3 points [-]

Good catch! Here is their definition (will update the main post later). Bolding mine:

Vallerand and his colleagues [...] have recently proposed a Dualistic Model of Passion in which passion is defined as a strong inclina-tion or desire toward a self-defining activity that one likes (or even loves), finds important (high valuation), and in which one invests time and energy.

The Dualistic Model of Passion further proposes that there exist two types of passion. The first type of passion is harmonious passion. A harmonious passion produces a strong desire to engage in the activity which remains under the person’s control. This type of passion results from an autonomous internalisation of the activity into the person’s identity (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Vallerand et al., 2003). An autonomous internalisation occurs when individuals have freely accepted the activity as important for them without any contingencies attached to it (Sheldon, 2002; Vallerand, 1997). In such a case, the activity occupies a significant but not overpowering space in the person’s identity and is in harmony with other aspects of the person’s life. An example of such a type of passion would be that with harmonious passion the person strongly loves and values basketball. However, this person also keeps control over the activity and can freely decide when to engage or not in basketball and when to stop engagement. Basketball would then be engaged in because of the pleasure that is drawn from the activity and not from other extrinsic sources (e.g. being popular because of basketball) and leads to a task-focus involvement that is conducive to positive outcomes (e.g. positive affect, flow, concentration).

The second type of passion identified by Vallerand and colleagues (2003) is obsessive passion. This type of passion entails the same strong desire to engage in the activity, as in harmonious passion. However, this desire of engagement is not under the person’s control. Rather, it is as if the activity controlled the person. Obsessive passion results from a controlled internalisation of the activity into one’s identity (Vallerand et al., 2003). Such an internalisation originates from intra and/or interpersonal pressure because certain contingencies are attached to the activity such as feelings of social acceptance, self-esteem, or performance. Thus, although individuals like the activity, they cannot help but engage in it due to a lack of control over these internal contingencies that come to control the person. It is proposed that individuals with an obsessive passion come to develop ego-invested structures (Hodgins & Knee, 2002) and eventually display rigid and conflicted forms of task engagement that preclude the experience of volition in activity engagement. An example of such a type of passion could be a person who strongly loves and values basketball, but because this activity fulfills a strong need for approval or performance which boosts momentarily one’s self- esteem, this person cannot help but engage in basketball, including at times when the activity should not be engaged in or should be stopped. This type of passion should not be confused with the concept of addiction for an activity. An addiction for a daily activity such as sports, gardening, or playing of a musical instrument usually constitutes a very rare pathology. In addition, addictions are often used to describe substance abuse, such as smoking, alcohol drinking, or drug abuse, which can hardly be conceptualised as an activity (gambling might be an exception). Finally, an important distinction between obsessive passion and addiction is that the addict person does not perceive his/her addictive activity as enjoyable anymore, while loving and valuing the activity are core criteria of obsessive passion. Addic- tive gamblers for instance do not like gambling anymore; they want to stop gambling and often seek therapies by themselves or self-exclude themselves from casinos.

In response to Be Happier
Comment author: David_Gerard 15 April 2012 09:31:05AM 19 points [-]

I felt the urge to upvote this article on a "more please" basis, but actually tl;dr'ed past the content once I'd read the summary. Anyone else?

In response to comment by David_Gerard on Be Happier
Comment author: Klevador 16 April 2012 07:54:26AM 3 points [-]

Does this mean that outline-summaries in posts like this are a bad idea, given that people can be very impatient?

(BTW, before tl;dr-ing, try breathing deeply first. It may make you feel less impatient :p )

In response to comment by TheOtherDave on Be Happier
Comment author: Danfly 15 April 2012 06:05:38PM 2 points [-]

Upvoting to 31, which is quite a fantastic number, since it is both (aptly) a "happy" prime, as well as a "sexy" prime.

In response to comment by Danfly on Be Happier
Comment author: Klevador 16 April 2012 07:41:43AM 0 points [-]


In response to Be Happier
Comment author: sark 15 April 2012 07:46:44PM 11 points [-]

Hi. First of all thanks for the immensely helpful summary of the literature!

Since you have gone through so much of the literature, I was wondering if you have come across any theories about the functional role of happiness?

I'm currently only aware of Kaj Sotala's post some time ago about how happiness regulates risk-taking. I personally think happiness does this because risk-taking is socially advantageous for high status folks. The theory is that happiness is basically a behavioural strategy pursued by those who have high status. As in, happiness is performed, not pursued. Depression and anxiety would be the opposite of happiness. I remember some studies showing how in primates the low status ones exhibit depression-like and anxious behavior.

It may simply be my ignorance of the literature, but it seems strange that all these (otherwise wonderful) empirical investigations into happiness are motivated only by a common folk theory of its function.

In response to comment by sark on Be Happier
Comment author: Klevador 16 April 2012 07:36:33AM *  1 point [-]

Good question. Unfortunately I tried to focus entirely on 'how to become happier' in researching for this post, although a possible answer to your query is that happiness promotes prosocial behavior and that happiness can be infectious up to three degrees of separation, thereby making everyone more likely to engage in prosocial behavior.

In response to comment by Klevador on Be Happier
Comment author: Randaly 16 April 2012 03:50:54AM 2 points [-]

Thanks- I'm just following whatever extracts I find particularly interesting back to the original papers. (I found the bit about spare time leading to happiness particularly interesting, which is how I found the Aaker reference.)

One more thing: In the sentence "Aside from making them happier, you will also improve your relationship with them via the Benjamin Franklin effect, which — unintuitively — makes people like you more if you ask them for favors.", the link to the wikipedia article on the Ben Franklin Effect links to this:


Instead of to the article here:


In response to comment by Randaly on Be Happier
Comment author: Klevador 16 April 2012 07:13:27AM 0 points [-]


In response to comment by gwern on Be Happier
Comment author: b1shop 15 April 2012 09:35:04PM 6 points [-]

Because the linked-to study simply says "conspicuous consumption has negative externalities" and the conclusion given is "Avoid Conspicuous Consumption." I call foul.

In response to comment by b1shop on Be Happier
Comment author: Klevador 16 April 2012 07:10:09AM *  5 points [-]

‘positional goods’ which, by definition, cannot be augmented, because they rely solely on not being available to others.


... the production of positional goods in the form of luxuries, such as exceedingly expensive watches or yachts, is a waste of productive resources, as overall happiness is thereby decreased rather than increased.

^ This is specific to wealth and cannot (necessarily) be said of other forms of status, such as fitness.

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