The evolution of happiness.

  title={The evolution of happiness.},
  author={David M. Buss},
  journal={The American psychologist},
  volume={55 1},
  • D. Buss
  • Published 2000
  • Biology, Psychology
  • The American psychologist
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 in the Perspective of Evolutionary Psychology

The human capacity for positive and negative feelings is shaped by the forces of evolution, thus the evolutionary perspective should be relevant to the study of happiness. This paper attempts to

Natural selection and the elusiveness of happiness.

  • R. Nesse
  • Psychology
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 2004
Research on the evolutionary origins of the capacities for positive and negative emotions is urgently needed to provide a foundation for sensible decisions about the use of new mood-manipulating technologies.

Human Motives, Happiness, and the Puzzle of Parenthood

  • S. LyubomirskyJ. Boehm
  • Psychology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2010
A sampling of longitudinal and experimental evidence is presented supporting two predictions: (a) that people will feel happy after realizing fundamental human motives, and (b) that in turn, the experience of happiness will galvanize people to fulfill these very motives.

Between Pleasure and Contentment: Evolutionary Dynamics of Some Possible Parameters of Happiness

It is found that the effects of attaching more weight to longer-term than to momentary happiness and of extending the memory for past happiness are both stronger in an environment where food is scarce.

Toward a revised evolutionary adaptationist analysis of depression: the social navigation hypothesis.

Cognitive Biases and Emotional Wisdom in the Evolution of Conflict Between the Sexes

Two recent theories within evolutionary psychology have produced novel insights into conflict between the sexes. According to error management theory (EMT), asymmetries over evolutionary time in the

Well-Being, Self-Actualization, and Fundamental Motives: An Evolutionary Perspective

From an evolutionary perspective, feelings of subjective well-being signal progress toward adaptive goals. We discuss life history theory and fundamental motives—integrating ideas from social

Hive Psychology, Happiness, and Public Policy

We consider three hypotheses about relatedness and well‐being including the hive hypothesis, which says people need to lose themselves occasionally by becoming part of an emergent social organism in

The pursuit of happiness: A reinforcement learning perspective on habituation and comparisons

In evaluating our choices, we often suffer from two tragic relativities. First, when our lives change for the better, we rapidly habituate to the higher standard of living. Second, we cannot escape



Friendship and the Banker's Paradox: Other Pathways to the Evolution of Adaptations for Altruism

The Banker's Paradox is defined, and it is shown how its solution can select for cognitive machinery designed to deliver benefits to others, even in the absence of traditional reciprocation.

The biology of moral systems

The author argues that the ultimate interests of humans are reproductive, and that the concept of morality has arisen within groups because of its contribution to unity in the context, ultimately, of success in intergroup competition.

Who Is Happy?

A flood of new studies explores people's subjective well-being (SWB) Frequent positive affect, infrequent negative affect, and a global sense of satisfaction with life define high SWB These studies

The Adapted mind : evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture

Although researchers have long been aware that the species-typical architecture of the human mind is the product of our evolutionary history, it has only been in the last three decades that advances

The Biology of Moral Systems Richard D. Alexander New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1987

This volume attempts to remedy a situation in which "those who have tried to analyze morality have failed to treat the human traits that underlie moral behavior as outcomes of evolution" (p. xiv).

The opponent-process theory of acquired motivation: the costs of pleasure and the benefits of pain.

The opponent-process theory of such new or experiential motives as drug addiction, love, affection and social attachment, and cravings for sensory and aesthetic ex- periences are described and the empirical laws governing the establishment of these new motives are described.

Human Assortative Mating and Genetic Equilibrium: An Evolutionary Perspective

Subjective Well-Being: Three Decades of Progress

W. Wilson's (1967) review of the area of subjective well-being (SWB) advanced several conclusions regarding those who report high levels of "happiness". A number of his conclusions have been

Conflict between the sexes: strategic interference and the evocation of anger and upset.

  • D. Buss
  • Psychology
    Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 1989
These studies provide modest support for the strategic conflict model and implicate the negative emotions of anger and upset as proximate mechanisms that alert men and women to strategic interference.

The evolution of cooperation.

A model is developed based on the concept of an evolutionarily stable strategy in the context of the Prisoner's Dilemma game to show how cooperation based on reciprocity can get started in an asocial world, can thrive while interacting with a wide range of other strategies, and can resist invasion once fully established.