Mobility from the psychologist’s perspective All societies induce both illness and well-being, therefore individual well-being is a product of society. Psychological factors such as attitudes, values and beliefs influence mobility decisions. Mobility plays a role in determining the achievement of psychological needs with respect to freedom and autonomy, access to social life, prevention of isolation and alienation and the promotion of achieving personal goals and gaining control. • Mobility is playing an increasingly important role in determining the achievement of the psychological needs. • Well-being requires three psychological needs to be met: autonomy, competence and relatedness and the absence of one or more of these leads to diminished well-being. • People’s perceptions define mobility choices. • All societies induce both illness and well-being, therefore individual well-being is a product of society. Individual well-being is a product of society. All societies induce both illness and well-being. In turn, every community shapes and defines what is considered normal (and by default, what is abnormal). The definitions of social deviation have consequences for how stressed and detached people can feel in their environment relative to others. In the current social order, society lambasts those who are seen to be deviant more than benefitting those that meet social norms – the economic model of society is heightening feelings of social disparity. The current health norm in society is success that is financially and materially visible. The mobile and virtual environments are the perfect channels for expression in this respect. Cortisol (the stress enzyme) measures highly in very mobile societies. The psychological function of mobility What we have learned from the work attempting to qualify classical economic theory through the application of heuristics, is that it is not so much the objective elements that define mobility choices but people’s perceptions of them. The psychological function of mobility What we have learned from the work attempting to qualify classical economic theory through the application of heuristics, is that it is not so much the objective elements that define mobility choices but people’s perceptions of them. Psychological factors such as attitudes, values and beliefs influencing mobility decisions can be predicted. These factors form the perceptual filter through which we see the environment around us and interpret it: why we behave in this way, and not that way. So from the psychologist’s perspective, mobility has a psychological value in the same way as the economist apportions an economic value. Psychology has many dimensions, from cognitive, or physiological, psychological to teleological behaviourism. The former concerns itself with internal mechanisms of the mind and representations of it. Teleological behaviourism, by contrast aims to explain, predict and control overt behaviour, including the complex patterns that form our ‘mental lives’. This latter branch of psychology apportions emphasis to the influence of the surrounding environment and context on mental life. Cognitive psychology, by contrast, emphasizes the inner functions of the mind, with decisions independent of their environmental context. “Psychological factors such as attitudes, values and beliefs influencing mobility decisions can be predicted” Psychological research emphasises that personal well-being depends heavily on fulfilling three key psychological needs: autonomy, competence and relatedness: Autonomy – the freedom to explore the environment freely. Competence – feeling in control of things and capable of accomplishing goals. Relatedness – having social support mechanisms around, connected to the world through social ties. Well-being requires all three psychological needs to be satisfied. They should not conflict although they do reinforce each other. Not possessing these three needs leads to negative emotional states and diminished well-being. This is true for individuals, neighbourhoods and societies as a whole. Mobility is being found to play an increasingly important role in determining the achievement of these psychological needs. Mobility promotes freedom and autonomy, it promotes relatedness through providing access to social life, and prevents isolation and alienation; and finally it promotes competence in achieving goals and gaining control. So it follows, in most cases, that people or areas which measure high levels of mobility will have a higher quality of life than those who experience low levels.