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PSY336H1 Lecture Notes - Positive Psychology, Learned Helplessness, Psych

Course Code
Dan Dolderman

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PSY336H1F L1 May 13, 2014
How to Harness Motivation to change
1. Control: how you act, perceive, think, feel
2. Knowing the right way to act, perceive, think, feel
o Easier to know than control
Self-awareness, mindfulness, self-control
Self-control: Balancing when to have control or let go
Don’t give in to learned helplessness
Self-awareness of our Attribution Styles
Change our schemas, filters, lenses, cognitive habits
Reframe bad things into challenges we can overcome
What does being happier look like?
Problems besides losing motivation
Sometimes it’s hard to find motivation in the first place
o We don’t always have a sense of what makes us feel
Over- or under-exertion of control
Not knowing how to be
Not doing anything
This course should be useful, practical
Take theoretical knowledge turn into skill-set
The psychology of well-being
1998/9: start of Positive psych
o Marty Soligman became president of APA
o Did the dog learned-helplessness expts in the 1970s
helped explain depression, attributional tendencies
o Psych was focused on negativity, wanted to expand on
Wanted to stop approaching the person as a
Drives often have to do with aversion &
minimizing dysfunction
Does being cured of a problem like depression
make someone happy? Can antidepressants do
Is a bad time a bad thing? What if suffering &
hitting bottom opens up new pathways of
thinking that turn us around? Reframe it
Why didn’t all the dogs give up?
Children who thrive despite difficult
Deeper yearnings for meaning, connections
Sometimes the most beautiful sides of ppl come
out during tragedy
What is happiness?
o Gave speech to APA saying they were going in 1
direction & needed to blance
Before WWII, William James Many goals!
o nurturing excellence in schools, prevention,
alleviation of illness
After WWII: Money focused on helping soldiers to fight the
negative spectrum of human experience
Humanistic: Rogers, Maslow, personality theorists,
o Growth, fulfilment, wisdom
o Thought of 3rd force in psych
1st: psychoanalysis
2nd: behaviourism
o Huge impact on education, business, self-help
books, psychotherapy
o Problem: not enough empirical research as a
During 1960s, as cognitive & computer models
appeared, statistics & empirical methods became
more important
By 1990s, humanistic psych not the 3rd force
Saligman: Revive the Humanistic questions
o Rebrand under the umbrella of Positive Psych
o Using empirical research
o Psychobiology find biological underpinnings
o In a way, is a new discipline; yet the questions
asked are old
o Positive psychologists can have many professions,
blended into the other disciplines
Ex. developmental psych, envt’al psych
Blurry boundary
Ex. positive& negative emotions regulate
each other
o Large overlap w clinical psychology
But positive psychologists move people
towards wellness (versus “not sick”), focused on
o How do we accomplish them, set them more effectively
How do we adopt new habits?
o Being your better self
o Working w your intact self
Psychology of positive emotions, motivational system
Concept of “flow: being at your peak capacity”, peak
o How do you take yourself as you are and go to
maximum effectiveness
As you start studying happiness, you invariably run into
negativity, barriers
o Negative side of positive psych
o What holds ppl back
Shame, trauma, negative events
o find the positive other side
o Need to ground positivity into negative experiences to
ground it and make it useable
Soft emotions that we all share
o Emotions than come from negative experiences
o Compassion, self-compassion, altruism
Ethical msg built into the discipline of happiness
o Morality, pro-social orientation
Slow opening up of the self: following the wellbeing path
o Working w my intact self:
My happiness
o less individualistically-centred
The self becomes less intact
o Self-transcendence
Objectively: is there a correct wellbeing path?
Subjective wellbeing (SWB): your own self-perceived wellness
o Ex. how happy do you feel right now?
o 3 components:
1. Positive Emotions
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