Happiness—or, more generally, subjective well-being—is a multidimensional concept. Its two main components are affective and cognitive well-being. Affective well-being captures people’s emotional experiences at specific points in time, whereas cognitive well-being refers to a person’s own evaluation of his or her global quality of life. This entry describes how affective and cognitive well-being can be measured, presents empirical findings on how overall cognitive well-being develops over the lifespan, and discusses potential explanations by examining how personal evaluations of various life domains differ between life phases.

Measuring Affective and Cognitive Well-Being

Affective well-being can be measured by directly asking people about their experiences of certain positive and negative emotions while being engaged in specific activities. This information can be collected while people are actually engaged in this activity ...

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