ERIC Number: ED251742
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-May
Reference Count: 0
The Bad Effects of the Good Old Days: Time Perspective, Hedonic Quality and Judgements of Subjective Well-Being.
Strack, Fritz; And Others
Comparison processes play an important role in any kind of judgment, including judgments about one's well-being. To find out how information about one's own life influences judgments of well-being, two experiments were conducted with a sample of 52 students. It was hypothesized that spatial, temporal, and social distance would influence judgments. Students were asked to list three positive and three negative present or past life events. Most events involved academic achievement or interpersonal relationships. Analysis of results indicated that subjects described themselves as happier and more satisfied if the activated events were positive in the present condition or negative in the past condition. The findings confirmed that life events are more likely to be used as comparison standards if they are temporarily distanced from the past life condition. A second experiment examined the effect of the way in which people think about life events. Subjects were asked to recall only one event, detailing precisely how the event developed, or why it occurred. Results showed that in the how condition, subjects were happier if they had to describe a positive event, while in the why condition they felt happier if the event was negative. These findings suggest that events that are vividly and concretely imagined (the how condition) influence subjective well being in the direction of their hedonic quality. (JAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn - Bad Godesberg (West Germany).
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Life Events; West Germany
Note: Paper presented at the Meeting of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology (Tilburg, The Netherlands, May 1984).