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Can "pride" be used as a subjective measure like "happiness"?

by jkmh1 min read18th Jun 20212 comments

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Subjective wellbeing
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When I have a lot of free time (which I have had lately), and I don't have anything that stands out in my mind as the thing I ought to do, I do the following: Brainstorm a list of up to 10 things I could do, then do pairwise comparisons of those options, asking myself "which would you prefer?" until I find the thing that I most prefer doing. Then I go and do that thing.

I have experimented with changing that driving question. For example, switching the question to "which would reduce the most amount of suffering?" I've found this question can lead to significantly different "winners" of the pairwise comparison game. A lot of times, this leads me to do something I don't feel like I prefer doing.

Then I switched the question to "which would give you the highest sense of pride?" And that has been the most interesting iteration so far. I find that the "winner" of those pairwise comparisons ends up being something that reduces a lot of suffering and is something I feel like I prefer doing. So I use the pride question a lot more often now.

This got me thinking about how some researchers are trying to measure "happiness", and how self-reporting on surveys/questionnaires is pretty common. It makes me wonder if "pride" or "dignity" would be another measure worth trying to collect. Does anybody know if there is any research that aims to do that, or something like it?

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So, if you look at OECD (2013, Annex A) there's a few example questions about subjective well-being. The eudaimonic questions are sort of in your area (see p 251), e.g. "I lead a purposeful and meaningful life", and "I am confident and capable in the activities that are important to me".

You might also be interested by Kahneman's(?) distinctions of decision vs remembered vs experience utility. Sounds like your question taps into "how will I, on reflection, feel about this decision?" and you're sampling your intuitions about how you judge life. 

Good thought, thanks. The "Work as Meaning Inventory" (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1069072711436160 , items in Table 1) might be relevant, as it also has elements of 'what do you prefer' as well as a 'greater good motivations' subscale.