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"Eavesdropping on Happiness" Revisited: A Pooled, Multisample Replication of the Association Between Life Satisfaction and Observed Daily Conversation Quantity and Quality


Milek, Anne; Butler, Emily A; Tackman, Allison M; Kaplan, Deanna M; Raison, Charles L; Sbarra, David A; Vazire, Simine; Mehl, Matthias R (2018). "Eavesdropping on Happiness" Revisited: A Pooled, Multisample Replication of the Association Between Life Satisfaction and Observed Daily Conversation Quantity and Quality. Psychological Science, 29(9):1451-1462.

Abstract

In the present study, we aimed to replicate and extend findings by Mehl, Vazire, Holleran, and Clark (2010) that individuals with higher well-being tend to spend less time alone and more time interacting with others (e.g., greater conversation quantity) and engage in less small talk and more substantive conversations (e.g., greater conversation quality). To test the robustness of these effects in a larger and more diverse sample, we used Bayesian integrative data analysis to pool data on subjective life satisfaction and observed daily conversations from three heterogeneous adult samples, in addition to the original sample ( N = 486). We found moderate associations between life satisfaction and amount of alone time, conversation time, and substantive conversations, but no reliable association with small talk. Personality did not substantially moderate these associations. The failure to replicate the original small-talk effect is theoretically and practically important, as it has garnered considerable scientific and lay interest.

Abstract

In the present study, we aimed to replicate and extend findings by Mehl, Vazire, Holleran, and Clark (2010) that individuals with higher well-being tend to spend less time alone and more time interacting with others (e.g., greater conversation quantity) and engage in less small talk and more substantive conversations (e.g., greater conversation quality). To test the robustness of these effects in a larger and more diverse sample, we used Bayesian integrative data analysis to pool data on subjective life satisfaction and observed daily conversations from three heterogeneous adult samples, in addition to the original sample ( N = 486). We found moderate associations between life satisfaction and amount of alone time, conversation time, and substantive conversations, but no reliable association with small talk. Personality did not substantially moderate these associations. The failure to replicate the original small-talk effect is theoretically and practically important, as it has garnered considerable scientific and lay interest.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Psychology
Date:1 June 2018
Deposited On:23 Jul 2018 12:19
Last Modified:14 Sep 2018 01:01
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0956-7976
Additional Information:Additional supporting information can be found at http:// journals.sagepub.com/doi/suppl/10.1177/0956797618774252
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618774252
PubMed ID:29969949
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDP2ZHP1_164959
  • : Project TitleSpending Time with One's Beloved Ones
  • : FunderNational Institutes of Health Grants
  • : Grant ID3R01AT004698, 5R01AT004698, R01HD069498, and R03CA137975
  • : Project Title

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