Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The Endowment–Contrast (EC) model was developed to account for the observation that past experiences have a dual effect on current well-being: directly, through an endowment mechanism, and indirectly, through a contrast mechanism. The EC model can be seen as an antidote to simpler approaches to “maximizing happiness.” Happiness is not just about the choices we make, it also reflects how these choices are remembered, represented, and consumed. According to the EC model, life satisfaction is constructed from a combination of the hedonic valence of events (endowments), and the standards against which we evaluate the events (contrasts). The model is different from other adaptation-based models of well-being, and from the related “mood as information” approach. Examples illustrate the application of the EC model to a variety of current trends and controversies in well-being research, and to explain why so many individual choices do not increase life satisfaction.

Keywords: life satisfaction, endowment, contrast, adaptation, mood, hedonic valence, comparison

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.