Conclusions: Evolutionary Psychology, Happiness

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Session Overview

Drawing of a smiley face.

This final lecture considers psychological perspectives on human nature (evolutionary psychology) and how to live our lives (happiness). For instance, to what extent do attitudes and behaviors about sex and race have evolutionary roots? Does more money, more vacation time, or more choice actually make us happier? Can we predict what things will make us happy, and act upon those predictions?

Keywords: racism, sexuality, happiness, affective forecasting, paradox of choice, positive psychology

Image: Public domain.

Session Activities


There are no assigned readings for this session.

Lecture Videos

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Video Resources

Further Study

These optional resources are provided for students that wish to explore this topic more fully.

Supplemental reading Clark, R. D., III & E. Hatfield. "Gender Differences in Receptivity to Sexual Offers." Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality 2 (1989): 39–55. (This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.PDF) Paper referenced in lecture video about womens' and mens' responses to three propositons (date, apartment, sex)
Supplemental video "Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy?" TED Talks, 2004. Accessed March 9, 2012. [0:21:20] Talk by Prof. Daniel Gilbert, a leading researcher on happiness and affective forecasting


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