Emotions and Meaning in Life: A Motivational Perspective Chapter uri icon


  • 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. All rights reserved. The pursuit of meaning in life has been described as a central human motivation. All the things we strive to do somehow relate to this elusive feeling of purpose. Research connecting emotions to judgments of meaning is relatively sparse, and the results are mixed. This chapter introduces a new perspective to resolve the controversies and instigate new ideas. While emotions have been examined in terms of their valence and arousal, studies have largely ignored their motivational properties. Both the emotions that facilitate immediate action and the ones that linger after our goal attempts have succeeded or failed impact our sense of how meaningful our lives are. The possible relationship between meaning in life and various discrete emotions is discussed, based largely on each emotion's motivational intensity and direction, in relation to goal pursuit.

author list (cited authors)

  • Tang, D., Kelley, N. J., Hicks, J. A., & Harmon-Jones, E.

complete list of authors

  • Tang, David||Kelley, Nicholas J||Hicks, Joshua A||Harmon-Jones, Eddie

Book Title

  • The Experience of Meaning in Life

publication date

  • January 1, 2013 11:11 AM