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Psy366 - lec 02.docx

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013 PSYC366 – Positive Psych Lec 02 Chase after money and security And your heart will never unclench Care about other people’s approval And you will be their prisoner Do your work. Then step back The only path to serenity. - Lao Tzu Prof question : How does someone determine what the right thing is? - Students answers: subjectivity is contextualized in a larger social framework - “there is no absolute right/wrong, what is right depends on cultural context, personality, the means of the moment etc. what you think is wrong is resistant to change “ – constantly be self critical - be continually open to your own criticism - the bg discussion has taken the concept of happiness and said it will respect subjectivity, it has a lot to do with subjectivity. - SWB - Subjective well being - has defined and measured happiness as the presence of positive emotions, absence of negative emotions, and overall level of satisfaction of life. o People rate different things, pos/neg affect o Five item scale used many times – internal reliable o Therefore, happiness depends on this overall feeling o Summarizes what we know about the correlates of happiness, what relates to happiness. o There’s no time frame – it depends on the questionnaire o Problems with this: all of the subjective biases that comes to play: his measurement can be contaminated by state or retrospective biases- motivated to see ur life in a pos way bcs optimistic or have high self esteem etc. and can be biased in a neg way: be depressed, be a victim,be ashamed. So there is the whole subjective bias problem with this measurement. o To get away from these things, can measure more often. By taking measures at diff pnts and measuring diff things, can see how this measure behaves, whether it predicts you expected it to. o This measure does hold up pretty well, it correlated with things its supposed to. The subjective biases are there for sure. But they don’t invalidate the measure. It does predict stuff; it has some predictability. - Have you ever watched someone slowly go off the rails? o Usually you can see the wrong before they can. Especially in relationships – that is classic. But they cant see it themselves. o Professors story: john and mary: known since he was 6 yrs old. They both come from fairly similar homes: john a bit below mary in terms socio economic status. Both are intelligent people. Have talents. Their biggest difference was the emotional health in their family. Mary was from a fairly warm family with lots of criticism. John’s family is a bit of a disaster: substance abuse, early death of one parent etc. broadly, their family is very similar. If you went back and measured their subjective well being during their childhood, john would be happier than 1 mary for his entire childhood bcs john had a fairly easy going attitude to life. Experienced virtually no anxiety. Very happy, lots of positive emotion. Not a lot of neg affect. Home life wasn’t so good, home life kind of sucks. His overall cog evaluation was probably very high. Mary identified with her gifts. She was emotionally attached to her gifts. She had pressure put on her, she had standards she was to meet. She had identification with that. Emotional identification with talents results in anxiety. Her pos emotion was a little subdued, her neg affect/emotion a little alleviated bcs of anxiety. Overall subjective well being wld prob be below johns for probably 15 yrs. By the end of high school, john is still doing okay, hes not flourishing, hes not creating any opportunities for himself, doing the same thing: partying etc. mary is starting to create some opportunities for herself. So theres a little of a transition pnt, late adolescence where john is kind of getting his act together, for a few years, he starts to lose a little bit of that spark, that confidence, bcs in reality, can see his life is going nowhere, didn’t graduate high school, for three years didn’t get last credit. Mary starts to feel more confidet about herself, starts to discover her tru passions. By the time they are in mid twenties, anyone wld see that john is hitting bottom in subjective well being. Took drugs a lot. All the spark, zest and fun is washed out which is very clear. Mary is doing great, still deals with some anxiety but blossoming. o Therefore, at any pnt in time, can measure subjective well-being but if going to say what is the right thing to do, maybe marys approach is perfect, bcs something that makes you happy for few yrs and then crashes and ruins the rest of ur life is not the right thing to do. o What you do in your younger years has a much lower value than what you do in your adolescence o The basic problems is also its strength – the subjectivity aspect of it: what are they?  Its easy. Huge strength. Easily operationalizable bcs of subjectivity.  Its also a big strength bcs we live in a post modern era where we have at least at philosophical level, we have moved away from a dogmatic culturally way of thinking  From 19 to end of 20 century, theres a shift in cultural understanding, truth is subjective. In that way of thinking, which has a lot of value, subjective well being is very powerful. It respects ppls subjectivity. How happy are you? How can a psych say they are unhappy.  But also a huge weakness bcs then the value the truth, of ones own subjective evaluation of ones own happiness is bound/limited by peoples wisdom and depth of self awareness, ppls authenticity.  Ex can take john who is 15 bt his happiness is not takeing into consideration how he will be when he is 25. Maybe it doesn’t matter then but it will matter then. So his subjective happiness is kind of flawed, its missing something.  Therefore that is a weakness of this, bcs our subjectivity is biased and they are limited. There are all kinds of biases built into them o In contrast to this type of subjectivity, is eudynomonic well being is something more authentic, more objective, (EWB) – (PWB)  There is something deeper down there. There is wisdom that can potentially guide us. If you wanted to construct a theory, a personal one. 2 Youd want to push yourself to a eudynamic dimension. What would you use as guidance?  What wil guide them? o Time 1 (regret later?) ex john, he should have asked himself. Feel good now but how will it make me feel later? o Goals (not taken as givens, also questioning your goals and trying to get to idea of first order goals (more deeply congruent with your values). As you question your goals, you are also stretching out the first thing: time perspective. How goals help reveal values. o Id, ego , superego – superego is what its all about values. Ignore your id. The cultural frameworks themselves are not always right. The potential cost of overemphasis superego is that tradition is not always good. If it were, we would be very sexist and racist. So it needs to be challenged sometimes. And sometimes it does not respect ones individuality which has some value. o If you are a spiritual person, use your book/ religion , ethics, philosophy as a guide.” o Caring for others  SWB has more power than EWB – the subjective value of something depends on how far away it is in time. The future. That means we will be attracted by the immediate gratification. Not Instant gratification doesn’t have the same type of motivation. - Eudynamic well being is confusing - Operationalizing it is tough so the filed has focused on subjective well being (SWB), a lot of ppl resonate with the idea of EWB but operationalisizing it is very difficult. - Consquences, depth, you’ve got wisdom – presumably religion philosophy etc they represent something that has some value. These stem from people who struggle deeply with people trying to understand. So there is probably some value here: religion, philosophy, ethics. What if you are a global thinker? And can plug into the collective wisdom of these things? Like take a whole bunch of religions and see what they have to say. They have a lot of diff but what if they have commonality? Many diff and yet some commonalities, then you have uncovered something that has lots of value. - If you can get something common that religions, phsilosophies agree with and it includes common patterns of human experience, it includes patterns of life. Like say 15 yr old john is not good bcs the collective wisdom of human history says ur gonna crash and burn - Take a few samples from diff philosophers and perspective and see what they have to say to see what this eurodynamic perspective actually means o Ex. Aristotle: interested in ethics and virtue, he says: true happiness (whatever that is) is found in the expression of virtue, he defined virtue. So wonderfully useless as: doing what is worth doing. But what is worth doing? Peoole are living the good life when the activitiy of their soul is in accordance with virtue.  Virtue, value, quality, truth – these words have all to do with each other with western philosophy bcs phil revolved around these words. In these words, is the essence of how we shld live… somewhere in these words. If we unpacked these words, we wld know how to live 3  Aristotles other big idea: Golden Mean – which is basically good. What does the golden mean mean? Mean = average. The golden mean what it sounds like on the surface is this kind of ‘the middle way’, the intermediate zone. And Aristotle says, “both fear and confidence, appetitite and anger, and pity and pleasure and pain maybe felt both too much and too little and in both cases not well.”  So the middle, the right way is probably not static, it doesn’t stay in that one person all the time. It changes.  Arittotle” to feel them (above) at the right time, with reference to right object toards the right ppl with right motive and in the right way is both intermediate and best and this is characteristic of virtue”  Linguitsitc problem: what does right mean?  The right thing to do depends, what is right in one circumstance. Ex. Right to laugh at someones joke but maybe not when its offensive, not when its at a funeral etc.  As you say something is good, you need to think about exceptions therefore ‘right, virtue etc’ has to be contextually sensitive. Sensitiveity to the context is REALLY important. This is referred to as ‘attunement’- bcs how can u know all these rights, unless first of all, as a starting pnt u are aware/plugged in… bcs if ur not aware, then how can u possibly understand what is right, what are the needs of the moment?  In 1950’s and onwards for 30 years, you have Eric Fromm. He is fairly central to existential psychologists. He says:” those needs (desires) that are only subjectively felt and whose satisfaction leads to momentary pleasure and those needs that are rooted in human nature and whose realization is conducive to human growth.”  So time is built into this. Things that are going to stick, those that have lasting value, is gooder , than these momentary goods.  He also says about human nature, whatever that is, therefore what is good should be compatible with human nature. Therefore, he is talking about things that are universal, not culturally constructed. About everywhere and anytime.  This perspective is fairly representative of eudynamic perspective and psychologists. Growth as an inherent good, as opposed to lack of or stagnation.  Attunment, growth and universality – big themes in eudynamic - Waterman = eudynamic activities occurs when ones life activities are congruent with ones deep values. Depth pops up from a eudynamic perspective. There is congruency with eud. Values and ppl are fully engaged. So theres 2 components to eud. 1. Self congruence. Being compatible with your deep values. It’s a lack of hypocricy. And 2. Engagement. When you are fully engaged in those activities. o How you put all those things together. A person who is very aware. You know what is going on. Attunment. Which is diff from dogmatic perspective. You are also self aware bcs u know ur deep values and know whether your behaviour is congruent with. Aware of who they are, who are theyre talking to, what are the needs of the moment, aware of their own deep values, their goals and what they want at the time, done reflexibity and questioning. Not engage in self deception. 4 Have to be pen so be aware of what they have just dne and whether it is completely in line with own values. o Very passionate, very awake, fully engaged, pour themselves in what they are doing. So u have this idea of fully engaged awareness. - Person who is eud well generally feels good about himself. But bcs theres so many ways of making someone feel good : good and not destructive. Then happiness is not nec a good indicator of eud well being. - What might be an indicator/measure of eud well being? Ex john? He can ask himself how fully engaged he feels in his life? (engagement) – whether what he is doing if he knows if they are congruent with his deep values, if he knows what they are. - So feeling of authenticity vs not being true to yourself. The feeling of engagement has been operationalized with vitality. Eud is someone alive and very vibrant. They have a lot of energy to themselves. - It didn’t take us that long to understand wellness. It should be fairly intuitively that our culture doesn’t hold this way of being up as a standard we should aspire to. But think about the msgs we recived from media, pressure, role models, from the way ppl perceive us, eudynomia is not really what our culture is selling! - Does money buy happiness? Buy Basic needs. Travelling/life experiences. What the research says is that first of all, for the most part (there are exceptions to everything
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