Approach Motivation Gives Rise to Meaning in Life
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Coherence, purpose, and significance have emerged as the three contributors to meaning in life. Current theories have primarily emphasized coherence as key to meaning, neglecting purpose and significance. A theoretical perspective is posited which argues that approach motivation integrates all three contributors and gives rise to meaning through feelings of self-regulatory success. The present thesis therefore tested whether approach motivation uniquely contributes to meaning over and above the previously emphasized coherence, which acts to maintain meaning by preventing inhibition. Studies 1a, 2a, and 3a found that measures of approach motivation better predicted meaning compared to inhibition. Study 1b found that variants of the dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene associated with increased approach motivation predicted meaning and that this relationship was mediated by approach motivation, but not inhibition. In Study 1c, a between-subjects manipulation of approach motivation led to increased meaning relative to a control condition. In Studies 2 and 3, within-subject manipulations of approach motivation and significant values led to increased meaning. Elevations in state approach motivation, but not changes in state inhibition, consistently mediated within-subjects effects on increased meaning. The potential relationship between happiness and meaning are discussed.
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Abdo Elnakouri (2018). Approach Motivation Gives Rise to Meaning in Life. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13813