L7 Cognitive Approaches Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in L7 Cognitive Approaches Deck (21):

Cognitive theories

1. Top-down (focus)
- theories of thinking
2. Bottom-up
- specific situations


Top-down theories

Thinking about the world and SWB

- Men are disturbed not by things. but by the views they take of them


Bottom-up Theories

Events and circumstances influencing SWB


Positivity Bias of Happy People

Sense of control, most others are good, the world is beautiful, sense of relative invulnerability, positive view of the world, optimistic about the future



Carver and Scheier
- enjoy better health, cope better with stress, less bp reactivity to stress, recover faster from bypass surgery, have less postpartum depression, have fewer symptoms during end semester

- Harvard grads 1946
- optimists healthier in 1980

So much in attitudes/outlook
- glass half-full or half-empty?



Theory of thinking and happiness
1. Attention
2. Interpretation
3. Memory



Classification into a group is enough
- ex. with in group vs. out group

Attention is selective- there are both good and bad things out there on which one can focus
- ex. gorilla experiment

Bryant- savoring
- happier people tend to have momentos handy (pictures on walls)
Lyobomirsky & Nolen-Hoeksema
- ruminating- thinking about the bad memories- makes us less happy



Interpretation is different
- two people may see exact same event positively vs. negatively
ex. Dartmouth and Princeton football game

Good and bad things, unambiguous
Neutral things- Weiss scale
Small thins people say may be interpreted according to mood
- ex. small comment may be the tipping point


Coping Strategies

Research by Costa and McCrae

1. Happy people
- rational action, seeking help, self-adaptation, humor, faith

2. Unhappy people
- hostile reactions, escapist fantasies, wishful thinking, indecisiveness, self-blame



- colonoscopies, vacations, dating partner
- how you remember an event is predictor of whether you'll repeat it
- how you remember your mood with your partner determines if you will stay together

Memory is selective:
Bryant- savoring
- momentos handy, pictures on walls
Lyobomirsky & Nolen-Hoeksema
- ruminating and NA
ex. two drunk grad students at a party
- move on!
- unhappy people keep repeating the negative event, even though it serves no purpose


Comparative Standards

When we react to events, we compare them to standards
- our goals and ideals
- social comparison- others
*our past- are we doing better or worse?
ex. income changes (10K to 40K, elated; 100K to 40K panicked)
- needs (relatively innate standards)



Goals should be high but also realistic
- determined how we'll react to a situation
ex. Jon shoots for passing, gets a B- elated
June shoots for an A+, gets a B- disappointed and dissatisfied

Lofty goals can make us aim high but also be disappointed - dilemma

The goal is to do your best, be really good at what you're doing, to try hard
- in this case, success is in your control


Social comparison

Can influence our satisfaction
- income- others in one's workplace
But many causes of SWM (love) are not comparative
Neurotics compare a lot
Social support crucial


Relative income

Rich people are happier than poor people but the wealth of the country in general is also highly influential
- people that live in rich countries are happier



Good and bad things happen, but the we adapt
- bad events- good to adapt
- good events- can react to new good events
Unemployment is the exception
- we never fully adapt
Declining marginal utility- a form of adaptation
- things decline in value as one gets more of them, each added unit is worth less for SWB


Failure to adapt to where you live

Experience anger and depression vs. enjoyment


Positive mental outlook

The habit of seeing the glass half full
Seeing opportunities, not threats
Generally trusting and liking oneself and others


Negative mental outlook

- Awfulizing- people exaggerate how negative an event/person is
- distress intolerance- people underestimate their ability to recover from a painful event
- learned helplessness- people simply give up because they feel they have no power to change negative circumstances
- perfectionism- people strive to be faultless rather than just successful, pay more attention to the small details that went wrong than the big picture of everything that went right
- negative self-fulfilling expectancies- one draws negative responses from others by communicating that one expects a negative reaction
-rejection goggles- cause people to see rejection everywhere, even in normal encounters, even the most minor rejection can be seen as a major slight


3 elements of self-compassion

1. self-kindness
- understanding, not punishment
2. sense of common humanity
- everybody goes through this
3. mindfulness
- neither ignoring nor exaggerating feelings of failure


Automatic negative thoughts

can be traps
thoughts -> feelings -> situations

- catch yourself, be mindful, generate more realistic trap


Thought traps

1. all of nothing
2. excuses
3. should've...
4. not as good
5. give up