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What Is This Thing Called Happiness?$
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Fred Feldman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571178

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571178.001.0001

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Measuring Happiness

Measuring Happiness

(p.231) CHAPTER 12 Measuring Happiness
What Is This Thing Called Happiness?

Fred Feldman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Empirical scientists often engage in research designed to reveal the relationship between happiness and such things as age, wealth, or nationality. Some of the tests used to measure happiness are based on the notion that a person's level of happiness is equal to his level of satisfaction with his own standing in several domains of life such as marriage, work, finances, health, leisure‐time activities, and housing. There are reasons to doubt that the scores generated by this “domains of life” approach correspond to anything worthy of the name ‘happiness'. If it is a mistake to identify happiness with life satisfaction, then even if a test accurately measured life satisfaction, it still would not be measuring happiness. A better test is sketched. The proposed test would give more accurate assessments of the levels of happiness of the subjects in a variety of cases. Criteria for the evaluation of happiness measuring tests are presented and applied.

Keywords:   measurement, single‐item test, domains of life, satisfaction, whole life satisfaction, Ed Diener, test‐retest reliability, attitudinal pleasure, centrality, attitudinal hedonism about happiness

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