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Summary Pages Exam #1

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PSYC 342
Dean A Tripp

Chapter 1- Introduction Lecture What is positive psychology? - Positive psychology= the scientific and applied approach to uncovering peoples strengths and promoting their positive functioning - Applied psychology questions o What is wrong with people? (study of deficits) o Understanding humans by only looking at weaknesses and pathologies o When working in one specialty, we are at risk of forgetting we are dealing with multiple difficult issues - Positive psychology questions o What is right with people? (study of assets) o The things that make life worthwhile- Robert Kennedy Benefits of Focusing on the Positive - In daily life it feels good! - In psychological research: o Balances already developed pathology model o Informs us about that which is good and strong in people - Ultimate goal= psychology as an inclusive approach: 1) Individual strengths 2) Individual weaknesses 3) Environmental stressors 4) Environmental resources Going from Negative to Positive - i.e. negative newspaper article focusing on the bad side of human behaviour in an airport - A Positive Story: coping in an airport, the readers loved the change in tone Balancing, not replacing - Avoid pathology versus positive debate - Avoid us-versus-them thinking: trying to see the GOOD in others and the BAD in ourselves - Previous paradigm explained behaviour at the time, focusing on disease PATHOLOGY MODEL - Focus instead on the common goal of both camps: to understand and help people o Both perspectives are linked to social values of the societys most powerful individuals, groups and institutions History of Positive Psychology Martin Seligman - University of Pennsylvania - President of the APA in 1998 - To further knowledge about what makes life worth living - Science as the backbone Basic Mechanisms Chapter 2- Eastern and Western Perspectives on Positive Psychology Culture and Positive Psychology - More focus on Western values and experiences: hope, optimism, personal self-efficacy o North America is the beginning of the transition from ignorant power to more western values (i.e. love) - Eastern perspectives now being consulted o Eastern ways of thinking are flowing through popular psychology and then academia o a good fortune may forebode a bad luck, which may in turn disguise a good fortune o Perpetual state of flux o Desire for balance o Cycle of life until the change process becomes natural and enlightenment (being able to see things clearly for what they are) is achieved - East and west combination produces multiple viewpoints of human strengths - Western= linear/physical plane o Harder I work, the farther I get, planning, direction, etc. - Eastern= fluid/spiritual plane o Runs with the physical plane o Seek to transcend the physical plane and rise to the spiritual one Western Traditions Athenian Views - Ancient Greek scholars: i.e. Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle o Aristotle: intellectual virtues associated with wisdom - 11 Moral Virtues: courage, moderation, generosity, munificence (not spending all your money), magnificence (evenness of the soul), even temper, friendliness, truthfulness, wit, justice, friendship - Children are innately virtuous - Philosophy brought a freedom of thought to the public life (elitist) - The Good Life virtuous - Intellectual virtues - Correlation between virtues and political community o Only within a life of order and sanction can one rise above hedonistic desire and become truly virtuous - Government responsible for virtue development via early education and training o They wanted virtuous living to be policy, but as history shows this didnt happen Judeo-Christianity - 3 Old Testament Virtues: Faith, hope and charity - History promoted these virtues; we were lost and needed to anchor those virtues with an example GOD - 7 Heavenly Virtues (Aquinas): fortitude (courage), justice, temperance, wisdom, faith, hope and charity o Lots of overlap with Greeks but different perspectives - Guide books for living life o Ten Commandments: Prohibit acts that fall under cardinal virtues o New Testament- Book of Romans, Book of Proverbs, Book of Matthew: Describes gifts from god as affirmations of virtues o The Talmud: Judaism followers believe in being a hospitable host, particularly to the poor, being fair in decision making and judgements and seeking peace in everyday life Eastern Influences Confucianism - Confucius: The Sage, from China - Morality as a cure for evil (crime, illness, poverty, war, etc.) - Leadership and education are central to mortality - You would like others to do for you what you would indeed like for yourself- you get what you give - Collectivist ideal= leaders caring for the group- parallel thoughts by Aristotle and Plato regarding the responsibility of leaders to take charge of the group BUT emphasize the collectivist ideal - Attainment of Virtue to Reach Enlightenment/sense of well-being: people strive to follow while making decisions o Jen (humanity) o Yi (duty to treat others well) o Li (etiquette and sensitivity for others feelings) o Zhi (wisdom) o Xin (truthfulness) Taoism - Lao-Tzu: creator of Taoism; from China o Must live according to the Toa o Toa= the way= the energy that surrounds everyone and flows through all things o the way cannot be taught, but must be experienced - Spiritual plane; direction, movement, method, thought - Examination of the self - Goal= achieve naturalness and spontaneity (at peace/free) - Key virtues to be practiced without effort= humanity, justice, temperance, and propriety - Transcendence= behave virtuous naturally Buddhism - Buddha: the Master; the Enlightened One - Key themes: o Seeking the good of others o Suffering as a part of being alive o Nirvana- self is freed from the desire from everything, can be pre-mortal and post-mortal UTOPIA - Brahma Viharas: o Maitri- love o Karuna- compassion o Mudita- joy o Upeksa- equanimity (mental calmness) - Achieve virtues via divorcing self from desire - Stop being hedonistic and materialistic Hinduism - No specific founder (roots in Southeast Asia) - Emphasis on interconnectedness of all things - Goal= live life fully and correctly in order to achieve afterlife without need for reincarnation - Avoid reincarnation by: o Attaining ultimate self-knowledge o Strive for ultimate self-betterment - Karma= good actions in one life result in a better placement in the next East Meets West Value Systems - Cultural value systems determine strengths and weaknesses - Comparison of cultural values via commonly told stories, fairy tales, and folklore - Western: individualistic, independence, competition o Individualist= focus on single person held in terms of important. Emphasizes competition and personal achievement o Future- oriented - Eastern: collectivistic, interdependence, cooperation o Collectivist= group is valued above individual and cooperation is emphasized o Past- oriented Thought Processes - Stark differences in thought processes= divergent worldviews and meaning making of living a good life - Western pursuit of happiness: o Linear deterministic world o Goal-directed o Built on strength of hope - Eastern pursuit of balance: o Cyclical always changing o Yin Yang= circular, always changing nature of the world. Each part exists because of the other and couldnt exist alone. Dark- feminine and passive Light- masculine and active o Built on strength of endurance Orientation to Time - Western cultures= future oriented - Eastern cultures= past oriented Different Ways to Positive Outcomes Western: rugged individualism - reject help, skeptical, etc. and hope= belief in a positive future - begins as early as the bible - Dark ages made hope viable in real life the brightness of the renaissance (1700s), Age of Enlightenment, science and education Eastern: - Compassion= both eastern and western; fosters groups and cohesion 1. Difficulties of recipient must be serious 2. Difficulties cant be self-inflicted 3. Observers must be able to identify with recipient - Harmony= eastern only; state of balance o Collective agency in working out what is good for the group - A cultural challenge: o Be open minded about that which you consider to be strengths o Be open to different
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