Article

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 331-354

First online:

Happiness in the Perspective of Evolutionary Psychology

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Abstract

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 identify the more pertinent innate qualities of the human brain, and discusses how the evolutionary perspective can be used to relate these qualities to the study of happiness. Two aspects of our evolutionary legacy appear to be particularly relevant: One, the consequences of discords between the present way of living and the environment of evolutionary adaptation; and two, the presence of feelings designed to influence behaviour. The purpose of the present paper is to both expand on these two aspects and thereby arrive at an evolutionary based description of happiness; and to discuss the relationship between this biological account and some current approached to the study of happiness.

evolutionary psychology happiness mismatches discords brain rewards environment of evolutionary adaptation biological perspective