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Notes on readings for test 1 (pt 2)

Course Code
Dan Dolderman
Study Guide

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The role of positive emotions in positive psychology the broaden-and-build theory
Experiences of positive emotions broaden peoples momentary thought-action repertoires,
which in turn serves to build their enduring personal resources, ranging from physical and
intellectual resources to social and psychological resources.
The capacity to experience +ve emotions may be fundamental to human strength central to the
study of human flourishing.
+ve emotions markers of flourishing/optimal well-being
SWB determined by peoples balance of +ve and ve emotions
+ve emotions are means to achieving psychological growth and improved well-being over time
Emotion begins with an individuals assessment of the personal meaning of some antecedent event
general concept (consciously accessible feelings)
Emotion vs. affect:
Some personally meaningful circumstance
Brief and implicate the multiple-component systems
Fitting into discrete categories of emotion families
Free-floating or objectless
Long-lasting and may be salient only at the level of subjective experience
Varying along two dimensions; pleasantness and activation
+ve affect:
oFacilitates approach behaviour
oContinued action
oPrompt individuals to engage with their environments and partake in activities, many of
which are adaptive for the individual, its species, or both.
o+ve emotions include a component of +ve affect, they too function as interal signals to
approach or continue
Broaden-and-build theory:
oCertain discrete +ve emotions joy, interest, contentment, pride, love although
phenomenologically distinct, all share the ability to broaden peoples momentary thought-
action repertoires and build their enduring personal resources, ranging from physical and
intellectual resources to social and psychological resources.
-ve emotions: narrowed attention - calling to mind an urge to act in a particular way
(i.e. fight or flight)
+ve emotions: broadens peoples momentary thought
Carry indirect and long-term adaptive benefits because broadening builds
enduring personal resources, which function as reserves to be dawn on later
to manage future threats
Joy play, push limits, be creative
Interest urge to explore, take in new info and experiences, expand self in
Contentment urge to savour current life circumstances into new view of self
and the of the world
Pride urge to share news of achievements + hope for more
Love urges to play with, explore, and savour experiences with loved ones
oPlay = builds enduring physical resources and social resources;
childhood play builds enduring intellectual resources by increasing
levels of creativity
Increase in ones personal resources function as reserves that can be
drawn on in subsequent moments and in different emotional states
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o+ve emotions = broadened thought building = enduring personal resources
Film clips: joy, contentment, fear, and anger
Asked to fill out: I would like to…”
(+) = “right then answers
(-) = less than (+); named fewer things than (+)
(/) = less than (+)
Undoing hypothesis:
oPositive emotions might correct or undo the after effects of negative emotions
oBy broadening a persons momentary thought-action repertoire, a positive emotion may
loosen the hold that a negative emotion has gained on that persons mind and body by
dismantling or undoing preparation for specific action.
oSuggests that people might improve their psychological well-being, and perhaps also their
physical health, by cultivating experiences of positive emotions at opportune moments to
cope with negative emotions
1 minute speech task (increase anxiety)
More resilient individuals reported higher levels of pre-existing positive affect
on an initial mood measure
Shown joy, contentment, neutral and sad videos
Positive faster cardio recovery; slowest
Results: (+) emotion films dont make cardio systems change, but affect the cardio
system when going back to normal
One way people experience (+) emotions in the face of adversity is by finding (+) meaning in
ordinary events and within the adversity itself
Over time effects of (+) emotion should accumulate and compoundthe broadened attention and
cognition triggered by earlier experiences of (+) emotions should facilitate coping with adversity, and
this improved coping should predict future experiences of (+) experiences. As this cycle continues,
people build their psychological resilience and enhance their emotional well-being.
Individuals who experienced more positive emotions than others became more resilient to adversity
over time, as indexed by increases in broad-minded coping.
Conclusionpositive emotions:
oBroaden peoples thought-action repertoires
oUndo lingering negative emotions
oFuel psychological resilience
oBuild psychological resilience and trigger upward spirals toward enhanced emotional well-
Posttraumatic growth: Conceptual foundations and empirical evidence
Sets of circumstances that represent significant challenges to the adaptive resources of the
individual, and that represent significant challenges to individuals ways of understanding the world
and their place in it
Guilt, anger, and general irritability are other affective responses commonly observed in persons
struggling with significant life problems.
Distressing and sometimes dysfunctional patterns of thinking can be set in motion by major life
When the level of stress sis high, a variety of unpleasant and physical reactions can be experienced
as well.
For a minority of persons who experience them, major life crises can serve as the catalysts for the
development or exacerbation of significant psychiatric difficulties
Continuing personal distress and growth often coexist
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