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The Architecture of Sustainable Happiness Report

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Updated: May 23rd, 2021

Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade explore what they refer to as the architecture of sustainable happiness (114). The model of happiness they propose combines personal and circumstantial determinants of happiness. According to the model, the three factors determining the level of an individual’s happiness at a given period are the circumstances (10%), intentional activity (40%), and setpoint (50%) (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade 116). As a result, a person may influence the level of their happiness by changing their intentional activity. In their experimental studies, Ferguson and Sheldon also explore the components that influence one’s happiness level and conclude that the efficiency of intentional activity practiced to increase happiness is lower than that of the motivational mindset (1). This idea corresponds with that expressed by Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade, who say that set point contributes to 50% of happiness (116). However, the studies by Ferguson and Sheldon argue that mindset can be changed while Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade maintain that it is fixed (117).

The factor of intentions condition was investigated to determine its correlation with the circumstances and the combined influence on the state of happiness one experiences. In other words, the researchers attempted to identify whether or not one could intentionally influence their level of happiness and what was required for the successful change. The music represented circumstances, the groups of participants were asked to listen to two different compositions (one was positive, the other one had ambiguous character). The instructions given to the participants determined their style of music listening – that was the researchers’ way to operationalize the variable. The feeling of happiness and the intention to change it were measured before and after the participants listened to the music. Also, the pressure to feel better experienced by the participants was estimated and taken into consideration. The intention is the subject variable because it was measured based on the comparison of the results of two different groups of participants whose actions were determined by the instructions.

The groups of participants of Study 1 were asked to listen to two different music compositions – a positive Rodeo by Copeland, and an ambiguous Rite of Spring by Stravinsky. The effect of each composition was measured based on the intentions of the listeners who were either actively trying to feel happier or remained neutral. The possible difficulties with the validity of this variable originate in the individual perceptions of various people. Music perception is subject to unique tastes, and its perception varies from one person to another. The characterization of compositions as positive and not positive is very vague in this reference. However, the manipulation achieved the goal as in the majority of participants the positive music resulted in the feeling of happiness.

I believe that the best way to explain 2×2 ANOVA to the individuals unfamiliar with it is by stating that there are two variables – high intention and low intention to feel happier, each of which would be measured based on two different circumstances – happy music or ambiguous music. For ease of comprehension, I would illustrate my explanation by drawing a table with two lines (representing the groups according to intention instructions) and two columns (representing the types of music). Such a table would be an ideal demonstration of the 2×2 structure.

Works Cited

Ferguson, Yuna L., and Kennon M. Sheldon. Trying to be happier really can work: Two experimental studies. The Journal of Positive Psychology 8.1 (2013): 23-33. Web.

Lyubomirsky, Sonja, Kennon M. Sheldon, and David Schkade. Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change 9.2 (2005): 111-131. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, May 23). The Architecture of Sustainable Happiness. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-architecture-of-sustainable-happiness/

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"The Architecture of Sustainable Happiness." IvyPanda, 23 May 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/the-architecture-of-sustainable-happiness/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Architecture of Sustainable Happiness." May 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-architecture-of-sustainable-happiness/.


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IvyPanda. "The Architecture of Sustainable Happiness." May 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-architecture-of-sustainable-happiness/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The Architecture of Sustainable Happiness." May 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-architecture-of-sustainable-happiness/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Architecture of Sustainable Happiness'. 23 May.

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