Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Seeking happiness? Remember the good times, forget the regrets

03.05.2011
People who look at the past through rose-tinted glasses are happier than those who focus on negative past experiences and regrets, according to a new study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

The study helps explain why personality has such a strong influence on a person's happiness. The findings suggest that persons with certain personality traits are happier than others because of the way they think about their past, present and future.

The study examined how peoples' ratings on the "Big Five" personality traits relates to their approach to time and life satisfaction. The "Big Five" model assesses how extraverted, neurotic, open, conscientious and agreeable a person is, and rates individuals as high or low on each personality trait rather than assigning them a personality type.

"We found that highly extraverted people are happier with their lives because they tend to hold a positive, nostalgic view of the past and are less likely to have negative thoughts and regrets. People high on the neurotic scale essentially have the exact opposite view of the past and are less happy as a result," said Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, who authored the study with SF State graduating senior Jia Wei Zhang.

"This is good news because although it may be difficult to change your personality, you may be able to alter your view of time and boost your happiness," Howell said. The authors suggest that savoring happy memories or reframing painful past experiences in a positive light could be effective ways for individuals to increase their life satisfaction.

Numerous studies over the last 30 years have suggested that personality is a powerful predictor of a person's life satisfaction. These latest findings help explain the reason behind this relationship. "Personality traits influence how people look at the past, present and future and it is these different perspectives on time which drive a person's happiness," Howell said.

More than 750 participants completed surveys about their personality, life satisfaction and "time perspective" -- a concept coined by Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo to describe whether an individual is past, present or future orientated. To assess time perspective, participants were asked such questions as whether they enjoy reminiscing about the "good old days" or whether they believe their future is determined by themselves or by fate.

People's view of the past had the greatest effect on life satisfaction. Extraverts, who are energetic and talkative, were much more likely to remember the past positively and be happier as a result. People high on the neurotic scale, which can mean being moody, emotionally unstable and fretful, were more likely to have an anguished remembrance of the past and to be less happy.

"Do time perspectives predict unique variance in life satisfaction beyond personality traits?" was published online in the journal Personality and Individual Differences and will be published in Volume 50, Issue 8 print issue (June 2011). Howell co-authored the paper with Jia Wei Zhang, an undergraduate psychology student at SF State who will graduate on May 21.

Contact Professor Ryan Howell at (415) 405-2140 (office) or rhowell@sfsu.edu

A copy of the paper is available online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01918869 or contact Elaine Bible at (415) 405-3606 or ebible@sfsu.edu

Elaine Bible | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sfsu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>