Happiness as a noncircumscribed emotional state

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In the introduction we noted several definitions of the broad emotional state of happiness. Although these attempts at definition capture some of the breadth of the concept of happiness, research into the nature of happiness has, for the most part, been conducted outside such definitional guidelines or theoretical frameworks. Such research has either tended to ask people what they feel makes them happy or has examined the correlates of happiness in people who claim to be happy (e.g., Veenhoven, 2000). The findings from these approaches have revealed a number of issues and paradoxes that, in our view, underline the need for a thought-out, theoretical framework before we can achieve any measure of understanding of the concept of happiness. In the section that follows we consider some of this research and some of the issues that it has generated.

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