Full Text

Contentment

Sherry L. Beaumont


Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Extract

Contentment is a form of pleasant affect involving tranquility and serenity. It is an emotional response that tends to arise under conditions that include high certainty and low effort, and thus, is akin to the relief or mild joy one might experience in response to feeling safe and cared for. Contentment has traditionally been conceptualized as an aspect of the broader constructs of subjective well-being and happiness. Within this conceptualization, contentment is viewed as the positive affective basis, along with joy, for more global well-being; one's experience of positive emotions (including contentment) contributes to one's subjective appraisal of happiness. Until recently, little research focused on the experience of positive emotions, like contentment, primarily due to the fact that relative to negative emotions, positive emotions are less discrete, fewer in number, and less obvious in terms of their adaptive functions. For example, whereas basic negative emotions such as anger or disgust are associated with specific facial expressions, the experience of positive emotions such as contentment are not often signaled by specific facial movements. Similarly, negative emotions appear to have obvious adaptive functions (e.g., fear promotes fleeing in times of threat), whereas the functions of positive emotions are less well-understood in terms of the link to specific actions. With ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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