The term joviality is often used interchangeably with joy and encompasses a family of high-arousal positive emotional experiences including happiness, desire, exhilaration, mirth, enthusiasm, and vigor. Feelings of joviality arise in contexts appraised as safe and familiar. As an essential part of the human experience, joviality prompts the urge to play. Over the life span and as a product of sustained play, joy builds intellectual, physical, and social resources. Cross-sectional studies of hedonic well-being, generally, support the idea that feelings associated with joviality or happiness tend to follow a roughly U-shaped trend, peaking in youth and old age and bottoming out in middle age. This entry describes life-span research on joviality in infancy and childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, and middle adulthood and old age.

Infancy ...

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