The Universality of Happiness

Or not.

Research looking at how different cultures (specifically, Americans and Japanese) perceive the concept of happiness has shown that it’s not a universal constant, at least in terms of how we define it.

[The researchers] systematically analyzed American and Japanese participants’ spontaneously produced descriptions of [happiness and unhappiness] and observed, as predicted, that whereas Americans associated positive hedonic experience of happiness with personal achievement, Japanese associated it with social harmony.

Furthermore, Japanese were more likely than Americans to mention both social disruption and transcendental reappraisal as features of happiness. As also predicted, unlike happiness, descriptions of unhappiness included various culture-specific coping actions: Whereas Americans focused on externalizing behavior (e.g., anger and aggression), Japanese highlighted transcendental reappraisal and self-improvement.

Surely this has some implications that I’m not thinking of?

via Mind Hacks