Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers look for ingredients of happiness around the world

30.06.2011
In 1943, American psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed that all humans seek to fulfill a hierarchy of needs, which he represented with a pyramid.

The pyramid's base, which he believed must come first, signified basic needs (for food, sleep and sex, for example). Safety and security came next, in Maslow's view, then love and belonging, then esteem and, finally, at the pyramid's peak, a quality he called "self-actualization." Maslow wrote that people who have these needs fulfilled should be happier than those who don't.

In a new study, researchers at the University of Illinois put Maslow's ideas to the test with data from 123 countries representing every major region of the world.

"Anyone who has ever completed a psychology class has heard of Abraham Maslow and his theory of needs," said University of Illinois professor emeritus of psychology Ed Diener, who led the study. "But the nagging question has always been: Where is the proof? Students learn the theory, but scientific research backing this theory is rarely mentioned."

The researchers turned to the Gallup World Poll, which conducted surveys in 155 countries from 2005 to 2010, and included questions about money, food, shelter, safety, social support, feeling respected, being self-directed, having a sense of mastery, and the experience of positive or negative emotions. Diener, a senior scientist for the Gallup Organization, helped design the survey.

The researchers found that fulfillment of a diversity of needs, as defined by Maslow, do appear to be universal and important to individual happiness. But the order in which "higher" and "lower" needs are met has little bearing on how much they contribute to life satisfaction and enjoyment, Diener said.

They also found that the fulfillment of more basic needs – for money, food or shelter, for example – was more closely linked to a positive life evaluation, the way an individual ranked his or her life on a scale from worst to best. The satisfaction of higher needs – for social support, respect, autonomy or mastery – was "more strongly related to enjoying life – having more positive feelings and less negative feelings," Diener said.

An important finding, Diener said, is that the research indicated that people have higher life evaluations when others in society also have their needs fulfilled.

"Thus life satisfaction is not just an individual affair, but depends substantially also on the quality of life of one's fellow citizens," he said.

"Our findings suggest that Maslow's theory is largely correct. In cultures all over the world the fulfillment of his proposed needs correlates with happiness," Diener said. "However, an important departure from Maslow's theory is that we found that a person can report having good social relationships and self-actualization even if their basic needs and safety needs are not completely fulfilled."

"Another revision of his theory is that we found that different needs produce different types of well-being," Diener said.

Editor's notes: To reach Ed Diener, email ediener@illinois.edu.

The paper, "Needs and Subjective Well-Being Around the World," in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, is available from the U. of I. News Bureau.

Diana Yates | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study suggests oysters offer hot spot for reducing nutrient pollution

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

17.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

World first for reading digitally encoded synthetic molecules

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>