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This original and engaging book advocates an unabashedly empirical approach to addressing the issue of human values: abstract ideals that we consider important, such as freedom, equality, achievement, helpfulness, security, tradition and peace. Our values are relevant to everything we do, helping us choose between careers, schools, romantic partners, places to live, things to buy, who to vote for and much more. There is enormous public interest in the psychology of values and, in psychological terms, a growing recognition of the need for a deeper understanding of the ways in which values are embedded in our attitudes and behavior. How do they affect our well-being, our relationships with other people, our prosperity, and our environment?
In his examination of these questions, Maio focuses on tests of theories about values, through observations of what people actually think and do. This approach is essential because values are not directly observable in any simple way. We have to infer their presence from people’s judgments and behaviors, and this requires looking at evidence. In the past five decades, psychological research has learned a lot about how values reside in people’s mind and this book describes what we have learned and why it is important. It provides the first overview of psychological research looking at how we mentally represent and use our values, and constitutes important reading for psychology students at all levels, as well as academics in psychology and related social and health sciences.