Between Pleasure and Contentment: Evolutionary Dynamics of Some Possible Parameters of Happiness v1.0.0

We offer and test a simple operationalization of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being (“happiness”) as mediating variables that link outcomes to motivation. In five evolutionary agent-based simulation experiments, we compared the relative performance of agents endowed with different combinations of happiness-related traits (parameter values), under four types of environmental conditions. We found (i) that the effects of attaching more weight to longer-term than to momentary happiness and of extending the memory for past happiness are both stronger in an environment where food is scarce; (ii) that in such an environment “relative consumption,” in which the agent’s well-being is diminished by that of its neighbors, is more detrimental to survival when food is scarce; and (iii) that agents with a positive outlook, whose longer-term happiness gets more increase from positive events than decrease from negative ones, is generally advantageous.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at