Beyond the hedonic treadmill:
revising the adaptation theory of well-being

Diener E, Lucas RE, Scollon CN.
Department of Psychology,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
61820, USA.
Am Psychol. 2006 May-Jun;61(4):305-14.


According to the hedonic treadmill model, good and bad events temporarily affect happiness, but people quickly adapt back to hedonic neutrality. The theory, which has gained widespread acceptance in recent years, implies that individual and societal efforts to increase happiness are doomed to failure. The recent empirical work outlined here indicates that 5 important revisions to the treadmill model are needed. First, individuals' set points are not hedonically neutral. Second, people have different set points, which are partly dependent on their temperaments. Third, a single person may have multiple happiness set points: Different components of well-being such as pleasant emotions, unpleasant emotions, and life satisfaction can move in different directions. Fourth, and perhaps most important, well-being set points can change under some conditions. Finally, individuals differ in their adaptation to events, with some individuals changing their set point and others not changing in reaction to some external event. These revisions offer hope for psychologists and policy-makers who aim to decrease human misery and increase happiness.
Eugenics talk
Liberal Eugenics
'Designer babies'
Private eugenics
Psychiatric genetics
Eugenics before Galton
Scandanavian eugenics
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
Hedonic versus eudaimonic well-being
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
Hedonic set point model of happiness and marital status

and further reading

BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Hedonism and Homeostasis
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World