Geography of happiness: configurations of affective and cognitive appraisal of life across nations
by Gaël Brulé; Ruut Veenhoven
International Journal of Happiness and Development (IJHD), Vol. 2, No. 2, 2015

Abstract: When appraising our life-as-a-whole, we draw on two sources of information; 1) how well we feel most of the time; 2) to what extent life brings what we want of it. These sub-appraisals are referred to as components of happiness; respectively hedonic level of affect, the affective component, and contentment, the cognitive component. These sub-appraisals do not necessarily go together, one may feel fine but be discontented, or feel bad affectively, while being contented cognitively. In this paper, we explore how these appraisals combine in nations, drawing on data from the Gallup World Poll. The affective component is measured using an affect balance scale based on responses about yesterday's affective experiences. The cognitive component is measured using responses to a question about how close one's present life is to the ideal life one can imagine. Data is available for 133 nations for the years 2006 to 2009. We identified six geographical clusters of cognition/affect combinations. Links with existing cultural classifications and societal development are explored.

Online publication date:: Fri, 26-Jun-2015

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