The pursuit of Happiness

Evolutionary Origins, Psychological Research, and Implications for Implicit Religion


  • Kevin Sharpe



well-being, happiness, serotonin, neurology, implicit religion


Scientific studies of happiness (as subjective well-being) provide a lot of information about it: thus, a person’s level of happiness usually stays within a certain genetically determined range despite life’s ups and downs, happiness relates to activity in specific parts of the brain and to the presence or absence of serotonin and dopamine, and we have evolved to pursue happiness. Raising happiness within the set range can involve high self-esteem, a sense of control over life, and an outgoing, optimistic personality. In addition, the person’s view of the world influences his or her level of happiness. Flow, personal relationships, and having values and goals can also contribute. Pursuing happiness and seeking to remove unhappiness appear to be primary human motivations, biologically based. The study of implicit religion, therefore, ought at least to look at happiness and ask about the relationship between it and implicit religion.


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How to Cite

Sharpe, K. (2005). The pursuit of Happiness: Evolutionary Origins, Psychological Research, and Implications for Implicit Religion. Implicit Religion, 8(2), 118–132.




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