Lay Beliefs about Well-Being

A hallmark of being human is the ability to self-regulate one’s behavior to achieve important goals that are thought to bring about happiness.  In this line of research, we suggest that people’s lay beliefs about the nature of happiness — about whether happiness is cumulative versus fleeting — may play a unique role in shaping motivation and well-being.

We found that individuals differ in the degree to which they endorse beliefs related to Delaying Happiness (DH) vs. Living in the Moment (LM). Across a series of studies, people’s beliefs about DH versus LM uniquely predicted how they spent their time; their affective forecasts related to goal pursuit; decision-making, well-being, and daily experiences related to these outcomes (Park, Fujita, Naragon-Gainey, Radsvick, Jung, Xia, Ward, Paravati, Weng, Italiano, & Valvo, 2023).

In another line of research, we examine how people’s lay beliefs about the consequences of social media use relate to their frequency of use and their overall well-being (Naidu, Koefler, Park, & Lee, in prep).