Psychology 382 Syllabus (Fall 2010)
Olin 111, x4379, e-mail:
Course Meetings: Olin 103, Tuesday and Thursday, 8:15-10:00
Organization and Requirements:
The seminar will examine the contemporary movement in psychology known as positive
psychology. What is positive psychology? One of our initial and ongoing challenges
this term is to address that question: to become familiar with current visions
of positive psychology and to consider alternatives and future directions for
positive psychology. At a quite general level, positive psychology can be described
as an effort to use the tools of rigorous science to help us understand the
sources and nature of positive human strengths, characteristics, resources,
and aspirations. Positive psychology then seeks to apply this knowledge to help individuals and institutions function more effectively.
This is an advanced seminar. My expectation is that each of us will take responsibility
for the conduct of every class meeting. In addition, I will give specific assignments to seminar members for the September 23, October 5-7, and October 26 classes. You should also submit a major final paper on a topic in positive psychology on Monday, November 15. There are a host of topics in positive psychology the seminar is not scheduled to cover in depth, including positive affect and health, flow, positive organizational psychology, consumerism and happiness, and positive psychology counseling and coaching. I hope some of these will be represented in the set of paper topics class members select. Class presentations on your paper topics will be scheduled for November 9 and 11, the week prior to the Monday on which the paper is due. Final grades for the seminar will be based on your
final paper (40%), your class presentation on your topic (20%), and your other structured and unstructured
participation in class (40%). Please read carefully, consider topics and readings
seriously before class, identify and develop questions for class discussion,
and participate in class discussion actively, thoughtfully, and critically.
Finally, please remember that I would enjoy talking to you about
course-related issues outside of class time and invite you to stop by
my office to do so.
Book to Purchase:
- Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness. Penguin.
Course Topic and Reading Schedule:
- T 9/14 Introduction to positive psychology and the positive psychology seminar: What is positive psychology, and why has positive psychology emerged in contemporary psychology?
Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology:
An introduction. American Psychologist, 55, 1, 5-8.
- Th 9/16 An overview of positive psychology: To what positive ends might we--as psychologists and individuals--aspire? What is "happiness"? What influences human happiness?
Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness. 1-87.
Keyes, C. L. M. (2002). The mental health continuum: From languishing to flourishing in life. Journal of Health and Social Research, 43, 207-222.
- T 9/21 An overview of contributing forces and possible interventions: How might we nurture and sustain happiness?
Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness. 88-281.
- Th 9/23 Comparing and contrasting popular accounts of positive psychology.
Ben-Shahar, T. (2007). Happier. [i.]
Diener, E., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2008). Happiness. [ii.]
Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity. [iii.]
Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic Happiness. [iv.]
- T 9/28 Issues in the science of positive psychology: What questions need to be raised when assessing research in positive psychology?
Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness. 88-95. [review]
Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377-389.
Otake, K., Shimai, S., Tanaka-Matsumi, J., Otsui, K., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2006). Happy people become happier through kindness: A counting blessings intervention. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 361-375.
- Th 9/30 A literature review of the positive effects of positive affect.
Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855.
- T 10/5 & Th 10/7 Theoretical and research underpinnings of the impact of positive emotions: Broaden and build?
Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. American Psychologist, 56, 218-226.
Fredrickson, B. L., Tugade, M. M., Waugh, C. E., & Larkin, G. R. (2003). What good are positive emotions in crises? A prospective study of resilience and emotions following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 365-376. [i.]
Cohn, M. A., Fredrickson, B. L., Brown, S. L., Mikels, J. A., & Conway, A. M. (2009). Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building resilience. Emotion, 9, 361-368. [ii.]
Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1045-1062. [iii.]
Fredrickson, B. L., & Branigan, C. (2005). Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action repertoires. Cognition and Emotion, 19, 313-332. [iv.]
- T 10/12 Direction and striving in positive experience: How does purpose frame and drive positive experience?
McKnight, P. E., & Kashdan, T. B. (2009). Purpose in life as a system that creates and sustains health and well-being: An integrative, testable theory. Review of General Psychology, 13, 242-251.
Emmons, R. A. (2003). Personal goals, life meaning, and virtue: Wellsprings of a positive life. In C. L. M. Keyes & J. Haidt (Eds.), Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived, 105-128.
- Wed 10/13 [Tentative] Film: The Lost Boys of Sudan.
- Th 10/14 Resilience and positive experience: Responding effectively to adversity.
Tugade, M. M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). Resilient individuals use positive emotions to bounce back from negative emotional experiences. Journal of Perosnlaity and Social Psychology, 320-333.
Bonanno, G. A. (2005). Resilience in the face of potential trauma. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 135-138.
Masten, A., & Reed, M.-G. J. (2002). Resilience in development. In C. R Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology, 74-88.
- T 10/19 No class.
- Th 10/21 Nature and positive psychology. [Donna McMillan visit]
Berman, M. G., Kpmodes, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19, 1207-1212.
- T 10/26 Personal qualities that contribute to positive experience: Hope, optimism, emotional intelligence, and/or self-efficacy?
Snyder, C. R., Rand, K. L., & Sigmon, D. R. (2002). Hope theory: A member of the positive psychology family. In C. R Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology, 257-276. [i.]
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. (2003). Optimism. In S. J. Lopez & C. R Snyder (Eds.), Positive Psychological Assessment, 75-89. [ii.]
Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2008). Emotional intelligence: New ability or eclectic traits? American Psychologist, 63, 503-517. [iii.]
Maddox, J. E. (2002). Self-efficacy: The power of believing you can. In C. R Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology, 277-287. [iv.]
- Th 10/28 Social resources, relationship success, and positive life experiences.
Reis, H. T., & Gable, S. L. (2003). Toward a positive psychology of relationships. In C. L. M. Keyes & J. Haidt (Eds.), Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived, 129-159.
Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N.(1999). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. 1-24.
- T 11/2 Critical or alternative perspectives on positive functioning: What are some limits to the claims of positive psychology?
Marino, G. (2008). In praise of disappointment. The Chronicle of Higher Education. p. 1.
McNulty, J. K. (2010). When positive processes hurt relationships. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 167-171.
Steel, P., Schmidt, J., & Shultz, J. (2008). Refining the relationship between personality and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin. 138-161.
Watson, D., & Casillas. A. (2003). Neuroticism: Adaptive and maladaptive. In E. C. Chang & L. J. Sanna (Eds.), Virtue, Vice, and Personality, 145-161.
- Th 11/4 No class.
- T 11/9 Topics in positive psychology. Student-led paper presentations.
- Th 11/11 Topics in positive psychology. Student-led paper presentations.
- T 11/16 Closure.
[Two copies of major papers due Monday, 11/15]
September 13, 2010