OU psychology department hosts guest lecturer on subjective well-being research


Simon Albaugh

Dr. Richard Lucas speaks in front of a crowd at Oakland University.

As part of a multitude of public lectures hosted by OU, a personality psychologist from Michigan State University spoke on the prevailing research of subjective well-being.

Dr. Richard Lucas, a prominent psychologist in the field of social and personality psychology, lectured on the relationship between life experiences and the subjective reporting of well-being.

Subjective well-being is a term used to reference an individual’s sense of life satisfaction, according to the Positive Psychology Program. But because an individual’s life satisfaction cannot be measured directly, the term also refers to the subjective nature of measuring satisfaction.

His research was gathered using a comparison among major life events – specifically marriage, divorce, widowhood and unemployment – and the reporting of well-being on a scale of one to 10.

Lucas found that these specific life events, excluding marriage, have a lasting negative effect on subjective well-being, but not without the fundamental doubts that pervade such subjective means of measurement.

However, one of the most objective points in his research is the effect that social support has on subjective well-being. His research found that people who have strong social support after one of the major life events listed ultimately results in stronger and more positive reporting of subjective well-being.

The long-term goal of social/personality psychology research is to provide comprehensive information that could give insight to specific directions for policy changeThis field of psychology is used along with the opinion of experts in economics and other fields. It’s intended to be a reference to guide government legislation in benefiting the psychological as well as financial security of the populace.

The lecture was primarily attended by faculty and students of OU’s Department of Psychology. But as in the case of any public lecture hosted by OU, everyone was invited to attend.

OU hosts lectures similar to this one on nearly every area of study. Lectures range from the famous Richard Burke Lecture Series to informal meetings marketed to specific majors.

The next lecture will be on the uniqueness of this year’s presidential election, held Oct. 22 at 9 a.m. at the Rochester Hills Public Library.

To find lectures and other intellectual events, go to the OU calendar.