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Positive Psychology

  1. 1. Positive Psychology Tianyi Cui May 23rd, 2010 1
  2. 2. Please register in and take the Authentic Happiness Inventory 2
  3. 3. Positive Psychology is ... a new approach of psychology in 21st century a science of happiness and others that make life worth living a scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive named in 1998 by Martin Seligman as president of APA 3
  4. 4. Mental Disease Central topic of United psychology in the World States 20th century since World War II 1900 Focus on pathology 5/24 1/10 -1940 A disease model of human natural 1941 19/34 17/28 -1999 4
  5. 5. Basic Assumption Human goodness and excellence are as authentic as disease, disorder, and distress. Correct the imbalance. Challenge the disease model. Call for interest in building the best things in life. 5
  6. 6. Three Pillars Positive subjective experience (positive emotions) Positive individual traits Positive institutions 6
  7. 7. Pleasure usually comes when called, but not happiness. -- Mason Cooley 7
  8. 8. Questions about Happiness What is happiness? Why are human seeking happiness? How did happiness arise in evolution? Can happiness be lastingly increased? How? 8
  9. 9. Happiness is not ... simply the absence of its opposites only “on-line” pleasure, but most in the form of recollection or anticipation explainable by simple hedonic theory attainable by “shortcuts” 9
  10. 10. Facts on Happiness Peak-End Theory: summary evaluation is the average of the experience’s peak and end Mere Exposure Effect: tendency to like objects to which we’re frequently exposed Endowment Effect: our tendency to like objects given to us Hedonic Treadmill: adaption to pleasure 10
  11. 11. Happiness Matters Duchenne-ness of smile in yearbook photos predicts marriage satisfaction. while attractiveness does not Emotional content in autobiographical essays written by nuns predict long-liveness after decades. 11
  12. 12. Be Happy and Learn Better Broaden-and-Build Theory: positive emotions broaden one’s awareness and encourage encourage novel, varied, and exploratory thoughts and actions, which builds skills and resources Learn better: attention, working memory, verbal fluency, openness to information... marriage, friendship, employment, income, work performance, mental health, psychological health ... 12
  13. 13. Happiness and Evolution Signal safety and provide the opportunity to build and consolidate psychological skills Negative emotion: win-lose game Positive emotion: win-win encounter 13
  14. 14. Can You Make Yourself Lastingly Happier? Positive Psychology said Yes! Three Factors Affect Happiness set range circumstances voluntary control 14
  15. 15. Happiness and DNA Positive Affectivity: the extent to which an individual experiences positive moods highly heritable (r=0.4) 15
  16. 16. Happiness and Circumstances Marriage Social Life Subjective Health Religion Institution 16
  17. 17. Positive Emotions about Past, Present, and Future Positive Emotions Past: satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment, pride, serenity Present: joy, ecstasy, calm, zest, ebullience, pleasure, flow Future: optimism, hope, faith, trust These three senses of emotion are different and are not necessarily tightly linked. 17
  18. 18. Satisfaction about Past Do you believe your past determines your future? Please don’t. Gratitude Forgiving and Forgetting R.E.A.C.H. 18
  19. 19. Optimism about Future Correlation between optimism and good health showed after men became 40 Optimism Permanence: Temporary vs Permanent Pervasiveness: Specific vs Universal Increasing Optimism and Hope Self-Disputation (A.B.C.D.E) 19
  20. 20. Happiness in the Present Pleasure: great food, massage, perfume, hot shower, orgasm ... Gratification: discussing with others, reading Hemingway, rock climbing, playing bridge ... 20
  21. 21. Enhancing Pleasures Spacing: avoid habituation Savoring: deliberate conscious attention Mindfulness: no more mindlessness 21
  22. 22. Pleasure vs Gratifications Distinction between Pleasure: senses and emotions Gratifications: strengths and virtues Immersion replaces consciousness, no emotions involved (Flow) Pleasant Life vs Good Life 22
  23. 23. Flow The psychological state that accompanies highly engaging activities The experience of working at full capacity 23
  24. 24. Components of Flow Clear goals Balance between ability level and challenge Concentrating A sense of personal A loss of feeling of self- control consciousness intrinsically rewarding Distorted sense of time lack of awareness of Direct and immediate bodily needs feedback action awareness merging 24
  25. 25. Psychological Capital Consuming when enjoying pleasure biological satiation Investment when engaged in flow psychological growth 25
  26. 26. Junk Flow or Faux Flow Video games, TV shows, idle gossip ... Some of the elements of flow: engagement, absorption Not challenging, and do not leave us feeling invigorated or satisfied. 26
  27. 27. Shortcuts of Happiness We created more and more shortcuts to pleasure: television, drugs, shopping, porn, chocolate ... But there is no shortcut to gratifications! 27
  28. 28. Happiness is the aim of life, virtue is the foundation of happiness. -- Thomas Jefferson 28
  29. 29. Classification of Virtues and Character Strengths ubiquitous valued in its own right effort and will buildable measurable distinct ... 29
  30. 30. Strengths of Wisdom Positive traits related to the acquisition and use of information for the service of good life, i.e. cognitives strengths Curiosity [Interest, Novelty-Seeking, Openness to Experience] Love of Learning Open-Mindedness [Judgment, Critical Thinking] Creativity [Originality, Ingenuity] Perspective [Wisdom] 30
  31. 31. Strengths of Courage Positive traits entailing the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of external or internal opposition Bravery [Valor] Persistence [Perseverance, Industriousness] Integrity [Authenticity, Honesty] Vitality [Zest, Enthusiasm, Vigor, Energy] 31
  32. 32. Strengths of Humanity Positive traits manifest in caring relationships with others, dispositions to tend and befriend Kindness [Generosity, Nurturance, Care, Compassion, Altruistic Love, “Niceness”] Love (capacity to love and be loved) Social Intelligence [Emotional Intelligence, Personal Intelligence] 32
  33. 33. Strengths of Justice Broadly social positive traits relevant to the optimal interaction between the individual and the group or the community Fairness Citizenship [Social Responsibility, Loyalty, Teamwork] Leadership 33
  34. 34. Strengths of Temperance Positive traits that protect us from excess Forgiveness and Mercy Humility and Modesty Prudence Self-Regulation [Self-Control] 34
  35. 35. Strengths of Transcendence Positive traits that allows individuals to forge connections to the larger universe and thereby provide meaning to their lives Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence [Awe, Wonder, Elevation] Gratitude Hope [Optimism, Future-Mindedness, Future Orientation] Humor [Playfulness] Spirituality [Religiousness, Faith, Purpose] 35
  36. 36. VIA Classification of Character Strengths WISDOM: Curiosity, Love of Learning, Open- Mindedness, Creativity, Perspective COURAGE: Bravery, Persistence, Integrity, Vitality HUMANITY: Kindness, Love, Social Intelligence JUSTICE: Fairness, Citizenship, Leadership TEMPERANCE: Forgiveness and Mercy, Humility and Modesty, Prudence, Self-Regulation TRANSCENDENCE: Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, Gratitude, Hope, Humor, Spirituality 36
  37. 37. Signature Strengths Positive traits that a person yearning to act owns, celebrates, and frequently exercises feeling of inevitability in using them ownership and authenticity (“this is the real me”) invigoration rather than exhaustion when using excitement while displaying them them intrinsic motivation to use rapid learning curve them continuous learning of new ... ways to enact them 37
  38. 38. The chief purpose of education is to teach young people to find pleasure in right things. -- Plato 38
  39. 39. Increasing Happiness Past: gratitude, forgiveness, freeing yourself from deterministic ideology Future: recognize and dispute automatic pessimistic thoughts Present Pleasure: defeating habituation, savoring, mindfulness Gratifications: flow, the absence of emotions and self- consciousness exercise of your strengths and virtues 39
  40. 40. Happiness Exercises Gratitude Visit Three Good Things You at Your Best Identifying Signature Strengths Using Signature Strengths in a Novel Way 40
  41. 41. Life Explained The pleasant life is successful pursuit of the positive feelings, supplemented by the skills of amplifying these emotions. The good life is not about maximizing positive emotion but successfully using your signature strengths to obtain abundant and authentic gratification. The meaningful life has one additional feature: using your strengths in the service of something larger than you are. To live all three lives is to lead a full life. 41
  42. 42. FURTHER READING: ACADEMIC BOOKS • Christopher Peterson. A Primer in Positive Psychology. Oxford University Press, 2006 • C. R. Snyder, Shane J. Lopez. Handbook of Positive Psychology. Oxford University Press, 2005 • Christopher Peterson, Martin E.P. Seligman. Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. Oxford University Press, 2004 42
  43. 43. FURTHER READING: NON-ACADEMIC BOOKS • Martin E.P. Seligman. Authentic Happiness. The Free Press, 2004 • Tal Ben-Shahar. Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. McGraw-Hill, 2007 • Ed Diener, Robert Biswas-Diener. Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth. Wiley-Blackwell, 2008 43