Living, and thinking about it: two perspectives on life
This chapter discusses the intricacies of introspection and retrospection in processing experiences and how this relates to the experience of happiness. The retrieval and integration of experiences over time has been found to be subjective and prone to error. The chapter opens with a distinction between the experiencing self and the evaluating or remembering self. These are connected to the constituents of well-being important in empirical studies of happiness and are identified as ‘experienced well-being’ and ‘evaluated well-being’. The inherent subjectivity of these elements jumpstarted the search for more objective measures of happiness. In this regard, Bentham's concept of experienced utility is combined with notions of moment utility and total utility to derive adequate measures of an event's impact on a person's happiness. Issues of dimensionality, separability, and time neutrality are then discussed, followed by the day-reconstruction method. The final section confronts the question of comparing happiness across countries.
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