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McMaster University
Richard B Day

Jan 3rdJanuary0312241 PMDates of midterm test are finalizedThursday February 9th during regular class period1Thursday March 15th during regular class period 2Introduction to positive psychologyIt is about how you go about living a good lifeProblem is defining what they mean about a good life and there have been a number of different ways of understanding what a good life is in 100sd years and there still are disagreements of how to understand what the phrase means Its a tension into 2 different ways of understanding what good life means 2 viewsDefining good life in subjective terms what makes you as an individual feel good a subjective experienceI feel good 1about myself and that defines goodness in terms of lifeA broader view that says to understand what good life is is to understand our relationship with others fitting in is what 2good life is and meeting expectations of others so the complementary view looks at not just looking at an individual sense of wellbeing and call that a good life but you have to consider whether that persons behaviour thought and emotion fits into society so its one that allows one to function well in and contribute to the well being of theresThis course is strongly related to personality and is also related in abnormal psychology because we focus on problems we talk a lot about depression and anxiety and what makes people unhappy and things that make it difficult to fit in and have relationship with others and that has been a very big focus in psychology for 100 of years and positive psychology is the other side of the coin its the characteristics qualities and experiences that promote happiness good life and social and well beingYou can look at positive psychology in different waysStatisticalcriteriaWhen we look at abnormality in a bad way theres a number of criteria to define negative abnormality disorders and one of them is statisticalWe can define a person abnormal if they are high statistically distant from averageWe would consider someone to be well or optimally functioning if they are high statistically and above the means in anumber of emotions they are more happy or content then most people or are lower by a significant amount in negative emotion ie Low in anxiety and high in selfesteemPersonal satisfactionWe can talk about a person as optimally or positive functioning if they feel good about their behaviours or thoughts and if they have feelings that make them feel goodAdaptive criteriaWe define mental disorder of lack of adaptive functioning your thoughts feelings and behaviours makes it difficult for you to function in life and interact with others and function in an educational and working environment and likewise we can define positive psychology in the same way and say that individuals who have qualities feelings or thoughts make it easier for them to succeed in life and optimally function positivelySociocultural criteriaIndividuals with emotions traits cognitions that are valued by their culture or society thus we consider them positively functioning if their behaviours thoughts or emotions are accepted by the world around them the societyDefinitions of Positive PsychologyBy martin Selivan directed his work on positive psychologyHe is a clinical psychologist and his specialty was depressionAvoidance response animals do this they do a behaviour to avoid something ie With dog when a shock comes on right dog jumps to the left and if shock goes to the left they jump to the right Selivan worked on that kind of learning mechanism He then raised the barrier so now your stuck on the side and cant jump and the shock would come and they would experience unavoidable shock and couldnt do anything and then when the barrier was lowered so they could jump they dont do it because they havent learned to avoided a shock because they gave up they have learned to be helpless and he called this phenomenon learned helplessnessThen he was likewhat about learned optimism people who learn to be positive and believe that they can cope with things we can learn to be more optimistic hopeful and more positive Positive psychology by salivan is about valued subjective experience wellbeing contentment and satisfaction EctAnother definition of positive psychology by gable and journal of positive psychologyLook at slides for this partAristotle and the good lifeWe must start looking at positive philosophy to start talking about positive psychologyMany very important ideas from psychology stands from philosophical views Pysch 3BA3 Page 1 The very first person to turn to to define and shape our ideas of the good life is Aristotle who was considered a great philosopherHe said that good life the happy life personal happinessBut what makes a person happy its functioning well asa personBut what does it mean to function well It means living alife of virtue which means personal virtue and fitting into the societycivic virtueHe was one of those people who believed that virtue consisted of the middle way not too much of anything its just right virtue was the lack of excessHe talked about intellectual virtue understanding the world and wisdomTherefore virtues and the good life are the golden mean somewhere in between excess and deficiency and everything is just right He called good life audimoniaThe book of virtues by William j BennettHe talked about a number of different virtues which fit nice in positive psychologyHe said that these are the characteristics of traits that consist of virtues and he said that virtues make a good life selfdiscipline compassion responsibility friendship work courage perseverance honesty loyalty and faithLater they looked at afterlife virtue and focus wasnt primarily on doing something on this life but was to prepare yourself for the next life so people focused away from their life of the unpleasant world into the life to come because during this time period it was bad life was difficultAnd then later int he humanistic period Aristotle came back and we began to talk about optimal functioning and positive psychology moref Pysch 3BA3 Page 2 I slept in this lecture listen to it againJan 5thJanuary0512307 PMThe idea have dominated intention with religious ideas in christian church has dominated hwat we think of good lifeMore modern periodFreudWas the first modern theorist He wasthe first eprson to talk about personality ina different way Freud begand his notions with an antient ideaEDIANISM the basic human motive is to experience please And thats where freud beganHe argued that our experience of pleasure is directed by 2 instincts eros and thanatos sexual and aggressionHe saw that we live our life to maximize experience of pleasure and minimize displeasure while constrained by external forcesphysical world and social morality which we had internalized as a social eger and he saw that we had a stuggle between our inner desires and constraints on our choicesHis ideas of good lifeFreud was clear of what it ment to be mentally helthy and we will take it as his definition of what the good life involvedThe good life was the development of the ability to love and to workto love we need the ability to form lasting and intimate relationships with others with fmaily and friends and life long partners thats one aspect of mental health fulfillment of good life and nobody has disagreed with that since freudThe second part work we want to think of the good life as involving our relationship with others and not only people but with society we want to be productive we want to make a positive contribution to the world society and the world around us Generating value in society We need to be doing somehting that is valued by others Talked about sublimation channelling of agressive energy into socially accepted activities ie Art drama ect To find good ways to use of that excess energy and ways that not only society alloud and morally permitted but that society actually valuedThus socially valued activity was a component of the good lifeJungAn exceptionHe introduced into personality theory the idea of self actualization the idea of the highest motivationa nd greatest achievement that within ourselvesJung did not as freud did tlak abotu the relationship of our unified self with othersHe took a personal subjective and asocial view of what the good life involved it was a totally personal achievement and to achieve good life is to be oneself and to be in a unified wholeHe beleived that if you achieved that the results would generally grow to social but didnt express it as an outcomeIts interesting that in Jung for the first time in western psychology we see the introduction of eastern ideasAnythign circular and unified is a symbol of the selfMaslow humanistThese were individuals who had the optimistic view of human nature and human potential they were really optimistic as to what we could be as individuals and as speciesMaslow saw selfactuallizzation as the final ultimate motivation of the human beings after you got through and past the demotive herierchy then you would become self actualized and you would be guided by values They always talked abotu that individuals relationship with others when they talk about selfactualized individual and even if they werent strngly influenced by societal values but theyw ere focused not on their own inernal needs but on external problemsIn maslows view its a natural state of self actualized humans to be other directed8fold way to selfactualization this is one of the borrowings of maslow from butism We will tlak very directly about the buttest viMartin SeligmanGot to listen to this lecture because i In humanissts in 194050s and 50s and now jump forward 50 years and he is widely and correctly credited of being the modern was dozing off and tiredfounder of poirive oscyhology movementBack then there was no such thing as positive psychoogy until he took overTalked about learnedhelplessness And animals had experience with unavoidable negative events and when presented withHwo can we change ourselves so we see ourselves as an agent of possibilitiesHe continued that traditiuon in the modern worldHe was president of apa for a year and he decided to make the focus of his term as president is to make the development of positive pscyhology Before ww2 pscyh had three basic goalsCuring mental illness1Helping people lead more fulfilling and productive lives2Identifying and nurturing exceptional talent3After ww2 2 of the goals disappeared we just gave up in psychology on helping people lead more productive lives and gave upon nurturing talents and focused on curing mental illnessesMaslow recognized the problem as seligman did Seligman foudned a centre for positive pscyhology at home institution in university of pennsylvaniaIts healthyin the development of positive pscyhology and work of the field has come from ivy school and at harvard universitythe most popular course n campus positive psychology He directed the devleopment of special issues of development psychology bookPositive pscyhology liek other pscyhologies draws from anumber of already recognized subfieldsIts very strongly related to personaloty pscyhology 1They left out the humanists2See positive psychology ind evelopmental pscyhology 3In the last 50 years or so there has been4There was a longitudinal study and the kids were sucessful kids and they all had one person guiding them so thats what they all had in commonCognitive psychology also is in positive pscyhology and their view is and remains that we are as persons what we think and believe 5we are we process and interpret the things that hapen to usWe see alot of research that suggests exactly that The way to be happy si what we believe is happining in the world around us and not on what is actually hapening on specific event shtta occur in our lives it depends on our approch and interpretationa dn how we handly those thingsVitor campThe oen thing they couldnt take awyay from you is the right to your attitudehwo ar eyou going to treate this experience they cannpt fo Pysch 3BA3 Page 3
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