Do Aspirations and Adaptation Impede the Maximization of Happiness?

  • Ulrich SchimmackEmail author
  • Hyunji Kim
Part of the Happiness Studies Book Series book series (HAPS)


This chapter examines psychological theories of happiness and their implications for the maximization of happiness. Set-point theory and adaptation theory assume that it is impossible to maximize happiness, whereas positive psychological theories see an unfulfilled potential for lasting increases in happiness. We point out problems in the interpretation of existing evidence and conclude that maximization of happiness is neither simple nor futile. One of the main obstacles for increasing happiness is that individuals are often quite good at maximizing happiness. As a result, happiness in wealthy and free nations is close to the maximum. To demonstrate further improvements, it is important to refine measures of happiness, establish a solid foundation of empirical findings, and develop theories that can explain these findings.


Life Satisfaction Childhood Sexual Abuse Life Circumstance Adaptation Theory Housing Satisfaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Toronto MississaugaMississaugaCanada
  2. 2.Valerie Tiberius Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MinnesotaSouth MinneapolisUSA

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