Ph.D in Psychology
Assistant professor at Social psychology chair, Psychology faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University
The paper examines the differences in the social representations of happiness among optimists and pessimists in the group of socially active, educated young members of the international youth organization Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales . To assess the degree of optimism and pessimism we used the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) developed by E. Diener, while social representation, divided into the nucleus and peripheral zones, were examined using Verges’ technique within the framework of the concept of social mindsets offered by S. Moskovichi.
It has been shown that, irrespective of the optimism or pessimism of the participants, the nucleus of their representations of happiness contains such a value as love. However, only in optimists’ representations is this value combined in the nucleus with the values of family and friendship. In the pessimists’ nucleus zone of the representation of happiness, love is presented as an independent value, primarily associated with striking emotional experiences, which has aspects of psychological addiction. Considerable differences between optimists and pessimists have also been found in the peripheral zone of the representation of happiness. Only optimists have such associations as “knowledge”, “children”, and “faith” in their peripheral area. In our opinion, the major scale of differences between optimists and pessimists is formed by the factor of sociocentricity and egocentricity.
Keywords: life satisfaction, optimism, pessimism, social representations of happiness, socially active educated young people, social and economic crisis