Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 141–167 | Cite as

Flow Versus Life Satisfaction: A Projective Use of Cartoons to Illustrate the Difference Between the Evaluation Approach and the Intrinsic Motivation Approach to Subjective Quality of Life

  • Joar VittersøEmail author


In this paper, differences between life satisfaction and intrinsic motivation (flow) are addressed. Theories are presented on evaluation, flow and openness to experience. Data from a Norwegian panel study are analyzed by means of structural equation modeling. Young adults (n = 264) participated in a projective study with cartoon frames showing Donald Duck in challenging situations. Measures of satisfaction with life and the personality trait of openness to experience were added to the analysis. Subjects scoring high on openness rated Donald Duck's feelings as positive. A slightly opposing tendency was found for persons scoring high on satisfaction with life. The results are discussed with reference to the philosophical distinction between hedonism and eudaemonia.

happiness satisfaction with life evaluation flow intrinsic motivation openness to experience projective tests eudaemonia 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TromsoTromso

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