Dr. Jim Allen discusses his new book on the psychology of happiness with a local NPR host in this podcast. Although Dr. Allen's book covers the full range of topics within positive psychology, this discussion centers on economic factors that influence happiness: how much money do we really need to be happy? Does economic growth reliably increase happiness? What happens when individuals are treated like economic "commodities" in which their "value" depends on market forces? If money is not (usually) the answer, what can people do to increase their happiness? These questions and more are addressed in this thoughtful and lively discussion.

Listen to the podcast at http://wxxinews.org/post/connections-psychology-happiness

Dr. Allen's book, The Psychology of Happiness in the Modern World: A Social Psychological Approach, is the first to provide comprehensive coverage of the field. Important topics from traditional positive psychology such as character strengths, spirituality, practicing positivity and the importance of social relationships are covered in chapters on personality, joy and positive emotions, health, social relationships, religion, and enhancing happiness. However, the book also includes a chapter on evolution and happiness, as well as extensive coverage of economic and other socio-structural factors that influence happiness that are missing in other texts. For instance, the book contains full discussions of the effects of materialistic consumer culture, unemployment, income inequality, and economic growth on happiness, and suggests ways that economic systems could be structured to enhance individual happiness. The book also describes how social and cultural norms regarding work, marriage, and religion influence individual happiness. Therefore, the book is a good choice for any undergraduate course in happiness that covers both individualistic and socio-cultural influences on human happiness.

About the Author

James B. Allen, PhD, is associate professor in the Department of Psychology at SUNY Geneseo, where he has taught for the past 23 years. He regularly teaches courses on the psychology of happiness, social psychology, environmental psychology, and advanced research in psychology. Dr. Allen regularly attends and presents at the annual conventions of the Association for Psychological Science and the Eastern Psychological Association. He has published articles in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Sex Roles, and Environment and Behavior. He earned his PhD and master’s degrees in social psychology from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Auburn University.