VIRTUAL Psychological and Brain Sciences General Talk: Jessie Sun (University of Pennsylvania) – “Digital Transformation Search – Other People Matter: Social and Moral Aspects of the Good Life”

June 15, 2021
9:00 am - 10:00 am
Zoom conference (Virtual)

“Digital Transformation Search – Other People Matter: Social and Moral Aspects of the Good Life”

Hosted by the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences

Abstract: Most people want to live a good life—but what does that involve? This talk highlights the ways in which other people matter in the pursuit of two fundamental aspects of the good life—well-being and morality. To do so, I draw on data obtained via a combination of naturalistic and experimental methods, including self- and informant-reports, a personality change intervention, the experience sampling method, and unobtrusive audio recordings of everyday behavior. In the first part of the talk, I consider which dimensions of everyday social interactions matter for well-being (beyond the mere presence of social interactions). I show that engaging in more extraverted, deeper social interactions may be pathways to greater well-being; however, introverts (vs. extraverts) may benefit less from acting extraverted and more from having deeper conversations. This suggests that well-being interventions should be tailored to the individual’s personality. In the second part of the talk, I argue that maximizing and equitably distributing well-being for the greater good requires that people make an effort for the benefit of others. Yet, people aren’t particularly interested in improving themselves in ways that would benefit others; instead, most people prioritize personality changes that would improve their own well-being. I conclude with future directions on (a) whether personality compatibility enhances social interactions, (b) the future of personalized well-being interventions, and (c) the causes and well-being consequences of moral improvement.

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