Symposium on positive psychology was held in Moscow
On June 1-2, the Lab held an International Symposium "Happiness beyond Well-being", where several of the most prominent researchers in the field of positive psychology discussed the phenomenon of eudaemonic happiness.
The purpose of the Symposium was to stimulate dialogue and develop a common approach to the concept of eudaimonia in order to define this concept more clearly. The symposium was opened by Dmitry Leontiev, the Head of the Lab. Prof. Leontiev set the direction for further discussion. Maria V. Falikman, the Head of the Psychology Department at the HSE University, also welcomed the participants of the Symposium and expressed her affection for its topic and hope that the Symposium will contribute to the birth of many new ideas and research trends in the field of positive psychology.
The Symposium program consisted of seven main lectures, each of which summarized the current state of the problem:
• Kennon Sheldon (University of Missouri, USA & HSE University, Russia)
• Joar Witterso (University of Tromso, Norway)
• Ilona Boniwell (Positran, France & Anglia Ruskin University, UK)
• D.A. Leontiev (HSE University, Russia)
• Ruth Venhoven (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
• Veronica Huta (University of Ottawa, Canada)
• E.N. Osin (HSE University, Russia)
Kennon Sheldon touched upon the problems of the "Balkanization" of the concept of happiness, its division into several concepts developed by separate groups of researchers. As a way to solve this problem, K. Sheldon proposed using a subjective assessment of well-being as a "reliable signal" of prosperity in order to stimulate comparisons/correlations between studies.
Joar Witterso presented the empirical results of his team and demonstrated that there are two different phenomena that are usually confused with each other: emotions related to satisfaction of needs and positive experiences that are beyond well-being and emotional balance. Then he stressed the need to operationalize the second phenomenon and conduct additional research to find out whether these positive experiences are different constructs or are the same construct, but called differently.
Ilona Boniwell described the case of Bhutan, whose government adopted Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a new development paradigm 30 years ago. The project included the development of a new policy aimed at maximizing the GDP of the country's residents on nine points: health, living standards, education, psychological well-being, community, cultural diversity and sustainability, time use, management and environmental diversity.
At the lecture concluding the first day of the Symposium, D.A. Leontiev gave an analysis of the problem of whether happiness and well-being are synonymous, as is often assumed, and if not (as is the case), what can serve to separate them. He noted that there is agreement on the concept of well-being, but there are many different versions of the concept of happiness. He proposed to consider well-being as a common dimension for various forms of happiness, both for fairly simple - hedonistic, and for more complex – eudaemonic. The second forms of happiness involve more dimensions that need to be taken into account, in addition to positive and negative emotional assessments, these are: different contexts of life, needs, activity/activity and meaning. He proposed several theoretical models of happiness to show the relationship between well-being and happiness: two-level, consisting of two and three dimensions.
The second day of the symposium began with a speech by Ruth Venhoven on the ethics of using happiness as a moral rule. Step by step, deconstructing the concept of happiness into hedonistic and eudaemonic happiness and comparing the strengths and weaknesses of each, R. Venhoven concluded that any one moral rule is not enough, and pluralism is necessary for moral choice. He then said that "happiness plus," or a combination of hedonistic and eudaemonic happiness, could indeed become a suitable moral rule.
Veronika Huta presented her methodology for distinguishing hedonistic and eudaemonic orientation, which was created on the basis of a large amount of data collected over several years. Hedonistic orientation is associated with pleasure and comfort and results with an emphasis on the "here and now", whereas eudemonic orientation is associated with authenticity, meaning, perfection and growth, and also correlates with long-term, global and abstract results.
In his speech, E.N. Osin highlighted the concept of eudaemonic happiness, developed in collaboration with Ilona Boniwell. Based on the philosophical roots of the concept and conducted empirical research, they developed a concept based on eudemonistic experience, self-determination, personal meaning, self-transcendent meaning, openness to experience and the ability to make an effort.
In addition, a number of researchers presented their posters:
• Paths to well-being: an optimistic attributive style as a mediator of the effect of the influence of basic psychological needs (T. Gordeeva, O. Sychev, M. Lunkina);
• Healthy self-esteem as a predictor of subjective well-being, optimism and academic achievements in adolescence (M. Lunkina);
• Enjoyment of the moment is a predictor of subjective happiness, mental well-being (V. Titova, T. Gordeeva);
• A view through personal development: when awareness and self-reflection are in balance (A. Tonkih, V. Kostenko);
• Learning about being as a basic competence in higher education: teaching personal strengths and evaluation from the point of view of happiness? (A. Belykh);
• Meaningfulness as a general characteristic of the presence of inner significance - well-being, morality, contribution and authenticity as types of inner values (F. Martela);
• Evaluation of the Russian version of the short flow scale: some preliminary results (L. Alexandrova, I. Lvova);
• Social environment and subjective well-being in rural adolescents (S. Tulupo, V. Dashieva, L. Alexandrova).
At the end of the Symposium, a round table was held at which participants discussed the emerging concept of eudaimonia and the directions of future research on this topic. D.A. Leontiev noted that the Symposium was successful, its goals were achieved, and it provides opportunities for the start of new series of joint research. K. Sheldon called the Symposium "an interesting and bold attempt to solve some persistent problems in the field of positive psychology related to the definition of the concept and concept of happiness and the allocation of higher and lower forms of happiness." Veronika Huta added that the participants of the symposium reached a high level of agreement, and although there is still a long way to go, significant progress has already been made.