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Getting what you want; Goal-achievement gap; Meeting aspirations; Satisfaction


Contentment is the degree to which one perceives one’s wants are being met. It involves a cognitive judgment in which perceptions of life as it is are compared with notions of how life should be. This estimate of success in meeting wants figures in the overall evaluation of one’s life. In this context it is referred to as the “cognitive component” of happiness.


The term “contentment” is often used as a synonym for “happiness” and is then used to denote our subjective satisfaction with our life as a whole. Yet the term is also used in a more specific sense for a component of happiness. This lemma is about that specific use of the word “contentment.”

When estimating how much we like the life we live, we tend to use two more or less distinct sources of information: our affects and our thoughts. One can observe that one feels fine most of the time and one can also judge that life...

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Correspondence to Ruut Veenhoven .

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Veenhoven, R. (2014). Contentment. In: Michalos, A.C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. Springer, Dordrecht.

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