Manipulating happiness: Maria Montessori

Robert Biswas-Diener


Maria Montessori is best known for her legacy as an educator. She is the founder of a system of schools that has achieved worldwide success. Instrumental to her teaching method is the idea of fostering engagement by offering children individual choice and harnessing intrinsic motivation. For this reason, she is nominated as a noteworthy felicitator or happiness-enabler. In this article, I discuss Montessori’s life with a special emphasis on her teaching philosophy and methods. I briefly discuss psychological research as it relates to choice-related topics such as perceived personal control and autonomy. I also discuss some limitations of choice as an avenue toward happiness.


Montessori, education, happiness, subjective wellbeing, subjective well-being, self-determination theory

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