There is a longstanding discussion on whether happiness is culturally relative or not. The available data suggest that all humans tend to assess how much they like their lives. The evaluation draws both on affective experience, which is linked to gratification of universal human needs and on cognitive comparison, which is framed by cultural standards of the good life. The overall appraisal seems to depend more on the former than on the latter source of information. Conditions for happiness appear to be quite similar across the world and so are the consequences of enjoying life or not. There is more cultural variation in the valuation of happiness and in beliefs about conditions for happiness. The greatest variation is found in how happy people are.

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World Database of Happiness
Department of Sociology

Veenhoven, R. (2012). Does Happiness Differ Across Cultures?. In World Database of Happiness. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-2700-7_30