Success of positive psychology Popular press: See the annotated bibliography A dedicated journal: See the annotated bibliography section C2 Handbooks: Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi Chao, ; Chovan, ;. Understanding well-being and optimal functioning: Psychological Inquiry, 22 Replies: Clearly, that is the mark of a powerful, or at least powerfully compelling, idea.
There is an enormous flood of 'aftermarket' positive psychology products out there, and more seem to be generated every month. Consumers can get their hands on 'positive' books, services, unlicensed life coaches, motivational CD programs, and even bracelets and rocks! For example, in one of his first publications on his new venture he introduces a presidential task force on prevention that will ultimately sponsor a special issue on prevention for the American Psychologist edited by Csikszentmihalyi, "it will ask what psychology can do to nurture highly talented children [italics added]" Seligman, a, p.
In this column, Seligman then goes on to ask how we can prevent problems by promoting the competence of individuals. Much of the task of prevention will be to create a science of human strength whose mission will be to foster these virtues in young people" Seligman, a, p.
It can be the 'Manhattan project' of the social sciences, but it will require substantial resources. The positive social science of the 21st century will have as a useful side effect the possibility of prevention of the serious mental illnesses; for there are a set of human strengths that most likely buffer against mental courage, optimism, interpersonal skill, work ethic, hope, responsibility, future-mindedness, honesty and perseverance, to name several.
But it will have as its direct effect a scientific understanding of the practice of civic virtue and of the pursuit of the best things in life" Seligman, b, p. The focus on highly talented children also disappears. Here is a progress report on the three first steps" Seligman, c, p. Which will be most fruitful for a taxonomy? The DSMs categorize the mental disorders for the purpose of measurement and treatment. Is there an array of human strengths——the "sanities"—that are the opposite of the disorders?
Beyond those qualities provided by genetic inheritance, what would responsible parents most want to bestow on their children? To assess across time, culture and political systems how closely a people came to the good life, what set of question would we ask? If we wanted to know, as we aged and accomplished or failed, how close we were to the good life, what would we ask ourselves?
Rather than trying to agree on the elusive dimensions of tile good life, can we think instead of an array of paradigmatic "good lives," e. Do our cultural and religious writings about self—actualization, about wisdom and about creating an art of life yield a taxonomy?
We can show the world what actions lead to well-being, to positive individuals, to flourishing communities, and to a just society" Seligman, , p. For it is my belief that no medication or technique of therapy holds as much promise for serving as a buffer against mental illness as does human strength.
But psychology's focus on the negative has left us knowing too little about the many instances of growth, mastery, drive, and character building that can develop out of painful life events" Seligman, , p. Interestingly, I don't see any further references to the work of this group. Fredrickson introduced the "Broaden and Build" theory in order to account for what positive emotions do. They broaden the breadth of thought—action repertoires and build enduring physical, intellectual and social resources Frederickson, Fredrickson advances a new theory describing the form and function of joy, interest, contentment, and love.
In her new approach, she rejects two former common assumptions about emotion: The first is the presumption that emotions must necessarily yield specific action tendencies". Some positive emotions seem instead to spark changes primarily in cognitive activity, with changes in physical activity if any following from these cognitive changes" Fredrickson, , p.
Whereas negative emotions narrow a person's momentary thought—action repertoire, positive emotions broaden this repertoire. Thus, positive emotions "prompt individuals to discard time—tested or automatic everyday behavioral scripts and to pursue novel, creative, and often unscripted paths of thought and action" Fredrickson, , p.
Fredrickson's new paradigm also may explain how positive emotions may act to regulate negative emotions. Seligman has written that the field's mission is not just to measure positive experience but 'to build the human strengths and civic virtues.
But critics balk at the notion of a psychologist's 'Book of Virtues'. Howard [see Kendler, ], a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, says he is troubled by any science that sets itself up as a moral authority. Kendler rejects positive approaches to psychology and concludes that a negative conceptualization of mental health is necessary to serve the needs of society and meet the demands of science.
Seligman says that although he recognizes standards may vary across cultures, he believes in universals. At the individual level it is about positive personal traits—the capacity for love and vocation, courage, interpersonal skill, aesthetic sensibility, perseverance, forgiveness, originality, future mindedness, high talent, and wisdom.
At the group level it is about the civic virtues and the institutions that move individuals toward better citizenship: This manifesto was originally created during the Akumal 1 meeting in January , and was revised following the Akumal 2 meeting in January Definition Positive Psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning.
It aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive. The positive psychology movement represents a new commitment on the part of research psychologists to focus attention upon the sources of psychological health, thereby going beyond prior emphases upon disease and disorder. Goals To meet these objectives we must consider optimal functioning at multiple levels, including biological, experiential, personal, relational, institutional, cultural, and global.
It is necessary to study a the dynamic relations between processes at these levels, b the human capacity to create order and meaning in response to inevitable adversity, and c the means by which "the good life," in its many manifestations, may emerge from these processes.
Applications Potential applications of positive psychology include: Improving child education by making greater use of intrinsic motivation, positive affect, and creativity within schools Improving psychotherapy by developing approaches that emphasize hope, meaning, and self—healing Improving family life by better understanding the dynamics of love, generativity, and commitment Improving work satisfaction across the lifespan by helping people to find authentic involvement, experience states of flow, and make genuine contributions in their work Improving organizations and societies by discovering conditions that enhance trust, communication, and altruism between persons Improving the moral character of society by better understanding and promoting the spiritual impulse within humans.
Sheldon, Frederickson, Rathunde, Csikszentmihalyi, and Haidt, The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: Positive emotions broaden our thoughtaction repertoires Positive emotions undo negative emotions Positive emotions enhance resilience Positive emotions build psychological repertoire Positive emotions can trigger an upward developmental spiral Fredrickson, Kennon Sheldon and Laura King describe positive psychology as follows: What is positive psychology?
It is nothing more than the scientific study of ordinary human strengths and virtues. Positive psychology revisits "the average person" with an interest in finding out what works, what's right, and what's improving. It asks, "What is the nature of the efficiently functioning human being, successfully applying evolved adaptations and learned skills?
And how can psychologists explain the fact that despite all the difficulties, the majority of people manage to live lives of dignity and purpose? Positive psychology is thus an attempt to urge psychologists to adopt a more open and appreciative perspective regarding human potentials, motives, and capacities p.
This road takes you through the countryside of pleasure and gratification, up into the high country of strength and virtue, and finally to the peaks of lasting fulfillment: By activating an expansive, tolerant, and creative mindset, positive feelings maximize the social, intellectual, and physical benefits that will accrue" Seligman, , p. First is the study of positive emotion. Second is the study of the positive traits, foremost among them the strengths and virtues, but also the "abilities" such as intelligence and athleticism.
Third is the study of positive institutions, such as democracy, strong families, and free inquiry, that support the virtues, which in turn support the positive emotions" Seligman, a, p.
Exactly repeated in Seligman, , p. Positive subjective experience about the past is contentment, satisfaction, and well—being. Positive subjective experience about the present is happiness, flow, ecstasy, and the sensual pleasures.
And positive subjective experience about the future is optimism and hope" Seligman, , p. If we want to get the public, U. Congress, and the medical profession thinking about how to assess positive lives, then we need to move away from the DSM model American Psychiatric Association, We need an alternative that is essentially the opposite of the DSM.
In other words, we need a sensible classification of the strengths" Seligman, , p. Sociology has languished in the same way as psychology; it has been mostly about disabling conditions, the "isms" racism, sexism, and ageism—and how the isms ruin lives. Even if we were able to get rid of all those isms, we would still only be at zero. So positive psychology and positive sociology need to ask, 'What are the institutions that take human beings above zero?
The first is assessment". The first is fostering better prevention by buffering. The second is supplementing the available techniques for therapy by training practitioners to identify and build strengths explicitly and systematically.
The third is to curtail the promiscuous victimology that pervades the social sciences". Six classes of virtue i. A structured interview is also available at www. In lamenting on his decision not to become a philosopher, Seligman explains "I was always a bit a fish out of water because psychology's several conceptual confusions, its wooly reasoning, and especially its complacent ignorance of the great philosophical forbears of psychology troubled me" Seligman, b.
Positive subjective states also can include constructive thoughts about the self and the future, such as optimism and hope. At the individual level, positive psychology focuses on a study of positive individual traits, or the more enduring and persistent behavior patterns seen in people over time. This study might include individual traits such as courage, persistence, honesty, or wisdom.
Last, at the group or societal level, positive psychology focuses on the development, creation, and maintenance of positive institutions.
In this area, positive psychology addresses issues such as the development of civic virtues, the creation of healthy families, the study of healthy work environments, and positive communities" Compton, , p. Enlarging on these three aspects, Compton , p. Positive individual traits can include, among other elements, a sense of integrity, the ability to play and be creative, and the presence of virtues such as courage and humility.
Finally, life regulation qualities are those that allow us to regulate our day—to—day behavior in such a way that we can accomplish our goals while helping to enrich the people and institutions that we encounter along the way. These qualities include a sense of individuality or autonomy, a high degree of healthy self—control, and the presence of wisdom as a guide to behavior.
Some adapt so well that they serve as role models of incredible resiliency, perseverance, and fortitude. One of the goals of positive psychology is to understand how those people manage to accomplish such high levels of thriving and flourishing" Compton, , p. Mind map of positive psychology Boniwell, , p. Acting in accordance with this daimon leads one to happiness" Boniwell, , p.