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Date Submitted

Spring 4-15-2015

Research Mentor and Department

Randall Larsen




With the emergence of positive psychology, happiness has received increasing attention from psychologists. But it is the trait of happiness which has received the vast majority of attention. I argue that states of happiness are more relevant when making decisions about what one should do. This study seeks to determine the extent to which happiness findings extend to more state-like measures of happiness. Predictors of trait happiness, daily mood, and aggregate affect valence are examined. The latter two were examined with a new activity log methodology. Results showed that positive and negative affect (as measured by the PANAS-X) correlated better with more trait-like measures of happiness than state-like measures of happiness. The PANAS-X was alarmingly poor at predicting aggregate affect valence. Personality was a stronger predictor than activity selection of any type of hedonic happiness across the state-trait continuum. Interestingly, conscientiousness was a strong predictor, particular for aggregate affect valence. The same was true for food healthiness. Personality didn’t seem to affect activity selection but there were significant interaction effects between personality and activity in predicting affect valence. Implications of these findings are discussed, focusing particularly on current findings and future avenues of research on aggregate affect valence.

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