Our goal is to investigate the componential structure and mechanisms of flourishing and well-being as well as their dynamic and interactive behavior over time using modern mathematical and computational models and techniques. As part of this, we will pay special attention to the role of cognitive evaluations of feeling loved. A dynamical framework will allow us to formalize various mechanisms of change, habituation, and variation in well-being and predictors of interindividual differences through intensive longitudinal designs.
We propose a three-pronged approach. First, we will design a measurement instrument for Seligman's five-dimensional PERMA construct that can be used in intensive longitudinal designs, using common psychometric measurement models. For one dimension in particular, the "positive relationships" component, we will additionally apply an extended Cultural Consensus Model in order to quantify the cognitive aspect of feeling loved in daily life. Second, we will develop and apply a multidimensional stochastic differential equation model to capture the temporal dynamics of well-being, including the possible interactions between dimensions. We will relate the parameters of this model, which quantify properties of the dynamical behavior of these components of well-being, to personality and demographic variables. Third, we will gather longitudinal data with the new measurement instrument and study the effects of positive psychology interventions using the new model.
The output of the project will consist of ten academic papers (detailing formal modeling and novel substantive insights) and one piece of software for model fitting. Potentially, we will be able to communicate our findings to a wide audience in popular-science article format as well, especially regarding the cognitive evaluations of feeling loved and the effects of positive psychology interventions within the developed new dynamical framework.