The Evolution of Happiness (Buss, 2000). This lecture presents the key ideas laid out in an interesting paper that provides an evolutionary psychological analysis of happiness. This lecture will encourage students to think in terms of integrating the different domains of personality that have been covered in the course. In particular, this paper and the associated lecture guide students to consider the interface of evolutionary psychology and the study of emotion. Following the lecture, encourage students to discuss the ideas, including arguing in favor of them or against them. As always, be sure to help students fashion logical arguments rather than knee-jerk arguments that are not scientifically defensible.
According to Buss (2000), an evolutionary perspective offers novel insights into some major obstacles to achieving happiness
According to Buss (2000), understanding these psychological mechanisms—the selective processes that designed them, their evolved functions, and the contexts governing their activation—offers the best hope for holding some evolved mechanisms in check and selectively activating others to produce an overall increment in human happiness
Buss, D. M. (2000). The evolution of happiness. American Psychologist, 55, 15–23.
Emotional Reactions to Infidelity (Shackelford, LeBlanc, & Drass 2000). This lecture presents research investigating the emotional reactions to a long-term partner’s sexual infidelity or emotional infidelity. The research is empirically guided and represents an example of the categorical approach to emotions in the sense that the researchers sought to identify the basic or primary emotions that underlie emotional reactions to a partner’s infidelity. Research on conflict in romantic relationships is a favorite topic of students, and this research is squarely within this topic. Use this lecture as a springboard for discussing and distinguishing between the categorical and dimensional approaches to emotion.
Shackelford et al. (2000) sought to identify emotional reactions to a partner’s sexual infidelity and emotional infidelity
In a preliminary study, 53 participants nominated emotional reactions to a partner’s sexual and emotional infidelity
In a second study, 655 participants rated each emotion for how likely it was to occur following sexual and emotional infidelity
For example, men scored higher on Homicidal/Suicidal, whereas women scored higher on Undesirable/Insecure
A main effect for infidelity type obtained for 12 components
For example, participants endorsed Nauseated/Repulsed as more likely to follow sexual infidelity and Undesirable/Insecure as more likely to follow emotional infidelity
The researchers address limitations of this research, including reliance on self-report and imaginary infidelities, and highlight the need for an integrative theory of emotional reactions to infidelity
Shackelford, T. K., LeBlanc, G. J., & Drass, E. (2000). Emotional reactions to infidelity.