Edward Diener, Psychologist Known as Dr. Happiness, Died at age 74


A curious, daring child, he said he once threw a rock at a group of bees to see what they would do. As a youth, he climbed the Golden Gate Bridge and experimented with gunpowder, gasoline and fire.

His father wanted Edward to follow him into farming. But studying agriculture at Fresno State College (now California State University, Fresno) bored him, and he became interested in psychology.

Before graduating in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, he proposed a research project to explore the happiness of migrant farm workers, some of whom he knew from his family’s farm. But his professor rejected the idea, declaring the farm workers as a group dissatisfied and there was no way to measure happiness. So Dr. Diener chose another topic: compliance.

A dissident during the Vietnam War, Dr. worked. Diener as an administrator at a small psychiatric hospital before continuing his studies at the University of Washington, where he earned a Ph.D. in psychology in 1974. He soon joined the faculty at the University of Illinois.

As a graduate student and a young professor, Dr. Diener conducted research on cessation, loss of self -awareness in groups. He didn’t study happiness until the early 1980s, a change he said was partially influenced by his optimistic parents.

“My mother introduced me to books like Norman Vincent Peale’s‘ The Power of Positive Thinking, ’and it sparked my interest,” he said in an autobiographical essay written for the book “Journeys in Social Psychology”. (2008), edited by Robert Levine, Lynnette Zelezny and Aroldo Rodrigues. “My mother told me that even criticism can be framed in a positive way.”

Dr. made. Diener has many ways to measure well -being. One of them, the Satisfaction on the Life Scale, consisted of five statements indicated to respondents, in small and large studies, such as “In most ways my life is close to my ideal” and “My living conditions are great.” Respondents were asked to answer each on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree).



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