2016 Donald W. Fiske Distinguished Lecture
New Findings from the Science of Happiness
Dr. Edward F. Diener
Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor Emeritus
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
The science of subjective well-being has become a popular research field, with over 14,000 publications a year touching on the topic. Thus, it is not surprising that several advances are evident in the field. Formerly there was an emphasis on personality predictors of happiness, as well as how demographics such as income influence it.
Several new trends are evident over the past decade: 1. Societal and geographical differences in subjective well-being, 2. Differentiation of universal versus culture-specific factors influencing subjective well-being and its measurement, 3. The beneficial outcomes of high subjective well-being are becoming apparent, and 4. National accounts of well-being for policy have made significant progress. Although economists have been most active in using well-being to analyze policy-relevant issues, a broad range of behavioral scientists should be doing so. Open research questions in each of the four new areas will be discussed.