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The Experience of Meaning in Life

This book offers an in-depth exploration of the burgeoning field of meaning in life in the psychological sciences, covering conceptual and methodological issues, core psychological mechanisms, environmental, cognitive and personality variables and more.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; Joshua A. Hicks and Clay Routledge.- Part I. Theoretical Perspectives.- Chapter 1. The Four Needs for Meaning, the Value gap, and How (and Whether) Society Can Fill the Void; A. Will Crescioni and Roy F. Baumeister.- Chapter 2. A Terror Management Perspective on the Creation and Defense of Meaning; Daniel Sullivan, Spee Kosloff and Jeff Greenberg.- Chapter 3. I Die, therefore I Am: The Pursuit of Meaning in the Light of Death; Philip J. Cozzolino and Laura E. R. Blackie.- Chapter 4. Meaning Maintenance Model: Introducing Soren to Existential Social Psychology; Travis Proulx.- Chapter 5. Trauma and Meaning Making: Converging Conceptualizations and Emerging Evidence; Crystal L. Park.- Chapter 6. Subjective Well-Being and Meaning in Life in a Hostile World: Proposing a Configurative Perspective; Dov Shmotkin and Amit Shrira.- Chapter 7. The Origins of Meaning: Objective Reality, the Unconscious Mind, and Awareness; Samantha J. Heintzelman and Laura A. King.- Part II. Cognition, Decision Making, and Motivational Processes.- Chapter 8. Destiny is in the Details: Action Identification in the Construction and Destruction of Meaning; Jay L. Michaels, Steven S. Parkin and Robin R. Vallacher.- Chapter 9. Emotions and Meaning in Life: A Motivational Perspective; David Tang, Nicholas J. Kelley, Joshua A. Hicks and Eddie Harmon-Jones.- Chapter 10. Meaning and the Horizon of Interpretation: How Goals Structure Our Experience of the World; Jacob B. Hirsh.- Chapter 11. The Meaning of Hope and Vice Versa: Goal-Directed Thinking and the Construction of a Meaningful Life; David B. Feldman.- Chapter 12. Any Second Could Be the Second: How Thinking about What Might Have Been Affects the Emergence of Meaning and Commitment across the Adult Life Span; Hal E. Hershfield, Courtney E. Brown and Laura J. Kray.- Chapter 13. Judgments of Meaning in Life Following Existential Crises; William E. Davis and Joshua A. Hicks.- Part III. Self, Identity, and Individual Differences.- Chapter 14. Examining the True Self as a Wellspring of Meaning; Rebecca J. Schlegel, Christina M. Smith, and Kelly A. Hirsch.- Chapter 15. Finding Meaning in the Mirror: The Existential Pursuits of Narcissists; Constantine Sedikides, Claire M. Hart, Sylwia Z. Cisek, and Clay Routledge.- Chapter 16. "But Wait, It Gets Even Weirder...": The Meaning of Stories; Kate C. McLean and Sarah Morrison-Cohen.- Chapter 17. Nostalgia Bolsters Perceptions of a Meaningful Self in a Meaningful World; Jacob Juhl and Clay Routledge.- Chapter 18. Hardiness as the Existential Courage to Grow through Searching for Meaning; Salvatore R. Maddi.- Chapter 19. Generativity and the Meaning of Life; Ed de St. Aubin.- Chapter 20. Unique Contributions of Religion to Meaning; A. Taylor Newton and Daniel N. McIntosh.- Chapter 21. Death, the Need for Unambiguous Knowledge, and the Construction and Maintenance of Multi-Level Meaning; Matthew Vess.- Part IV. Culture and Interpersonal Processes.- Chapter 22. Attachment Orientations and Meaning in Life; Mario Mikulincer and Phillip R. Shaver.- Chapter 23. The Bidirectional Relationship of Meaning and Belonging; Tyler F. Stillman and Nathaniel M. Lambert.- Chapter 24. Culture: The Grand Web of Meanings; Melody Manchi Chao and Pelin Kesebir.- Chapter 25. Is Happiness a Moving Target? The Relationship between Residential Mobility and Meaning in Life; Casey Eggleston and Shigehiro Oishi.- Part V. Applications.- Chapter 26. Multi-Layered Meanings in Health Decision Making: A Terror Management Health Model Analysis; Simon McCabe, Kenneth E. Vail III, Jamie Arndt , and Jamie Goldenberg.- Chapter 27. Cultivating Meaningfulness at Work; Bryan J. Dik, Michael F. Steger, Arissa R. Fitch-Martin and Casey C. Onder.- Chapter 28. A Meaning-Based Intervention for Addiction: Using Narrative Therapy and Mindfulness to Treat Alcohol Abuse; Jefferson A. Singer, Bruce F. Singer and Meredith Berry.- Chapter 29. Life, Drugs, and the Making of Meaning; Joseph De Leo and Mitch Earleywine.- Chapter 30. Meaning in Life as the Aim of Psychotherapy: A Hypothesis; Thaddeus Metz.

About the Author

Joshua Hicks earned his BA from San Francisco State University, MS from Villanova University, and PhD from the University of Missouri. He is currently an assistant professor in the psychology department at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. His research focuses on classic and applied questions related to social and personality psychology. Although the specific question has varied, these lines of investigation are unified by their aim to understand the dynamic interplay of individual differences, situational factors, and cognitive processes in important outcomes such as the experience of meaning in life, positive emotions, psychological well-being, intuition, the link between substance use and behaviour, judgment and decision making processes, and personality development. Clay Routledge earned his BA from Missouri Southern State University and his MS and PhD from the University of Missouri. He spent two years as an assistant professor in the Centre for Research on Self and Identity at the University of Southampton, UK and is now an assistant professor in the psychology dept at North Dakota State University. He is trained as an experimental social psychologist and his research focuses on the many ways people navigate their social and cultural worlds in order to attain and sustain a sense of meaning, happiness, social connectedness, and self-transcendence.


From the reviews: "The editors have succeeded in exposing readers to a wide range of theoretical and empirical treatments of meaning. Therefore, I highly recommend this book as a useful resource for research and applications." (Paul T. P. Wong, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 59 (22), 2014)

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