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The evolution of happiness.

Authors
  • Buss, D M
Type
Published Article
Journal
The American psychologist
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2000
Volume
55
Issue
1
Pages
15–23
Identifiers
PMID: 11392858
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

An evolutionary perspective offers novel insights into some major obstacles to achieving happiness. Impediments include large discrepancies between modern and ancestral environments, the existence of evolved mechanisms "designed" to produce subjective distress, and the fact that evolution by selection has produced competitive mechanisms that function to benefit one person at the expense of others. On the positive side, people also possess evolved mechanisms that produce deep sources of happiness: those for mating bonds, deep friendship, close kinship, and cooperative coalitions. Understanding these psychological mechanisms--the selective processes that designed them, their evolved functions, and the contexts governing their activation--offers the best hope for holding some evolved mechanisms in check and selectively activating others to produce an overall increment in human happiness.

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