University of Cambridge > > Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) > Daily well-being is about thoughts as well as feelings: Extending the day reconstruction method

Daily well-being is about thoughts as well as feelings: Extending the day reconstruction method

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Serious consideration is being given to the impact of private behaviour and public policies on people’s subjective well-being (SWB). Kahneman and colleagues have proposed a new approach to measuring well-being, the day reconstruction method (DRM). The DRM is a diary approach with the novel twist that the affective component of daily activities is weighted by duration in order to construct temporal aggregates. However, the DRM neglects the potentially important role of thoughts. Using the DRM approach with a heterogeneous sample (N= 625) we include thoughts in two ways: thoughts about activities and thoughts that intrude on those activities. We show that some activities relatively low in pleasure (e.g. work and time with children) are nonetheless thought of as rewarding and therefore contribute to overall SWB . In part this is because recalling these experiences produces positive emotions in the present. We also show that negative recurring thoughts (e.g. financial worries) can significantly impact experienced utility as measured using the activity focused DRM . Such information may be important to policymakers wishing to promote behaviours and alleviate concerns that are conducive to a broader conception of SWB .

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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