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written by Editor S.M. 14 May 2008

Senia Maymin is the founder and editor-in-chief of PositivePsychologyNews.com. She was the series editor for the Positive Psychology News book series that recently published the first book, Resilience: How to Navigate Life's Curves. (Bio, Articles)

News by Positive Psychologists

First of all, news by positive psychologists:

Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman

Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, wrote an article about his work at Geelong Grammar School for the Sydney Morning Herald (5-3-08): Putting a Smile on Their Dial:

“In two words or less, what do you most want for your children?

If you are like the hundreds of Australian parents I’ve asked, you said: happiness, confidence, contentment, balance, good stuff, kindness, health, satisfaction, and the like. In short, well being.

In two words or less, what do schools teach?

If you are like other Australians, you said: achievement, thinking skills, success, conformity, literacy, maths, discipline and the like. In short, accomplishment.

Notice that there is no overlap between the two lists.”

Sonja Lyubomirsky

Sonja Lyubomirsky

Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, has joined the blogosphere. Dr. Lyubomirsky has launched a blog at Psychology Today: Sonja Lyubomirsky’s Blog. Recent topics include:

  • “No, Middle-Aged People Are Not Really Less Happy Than Anyone Else”
  • “Is “The Secret” Just a Giant Placebo Effect?”
  • What Influences Our Happiness The Most?
  • Is It Possible To Become Lastingly Happier?

News Around the World

In positive-psychology-related news around the world:

“What gives? Why are we as a species so often so desperately poor at achieving our goals? If we are, as the selfish-gene theory would have it, organisms that exist only to serve the interests of our genes, why do we waste so much of our time doing things that are not, in any obvious way, remotely in the interest of our genes? How can one explain, for example, why a busy undergraduate would spend four weeks playing “Halo 3″ rather than studying for his exams?”

“A new study has found that it may be possible to train people to be more intelligent, increasing the brainpower they had at birth. …
[I]n the new study, researchers describe a method for improving [that mental ability that allows us to solve new problems without having any relevant previous experience], along with experiments to prove it works. The key, researchers found, was carefully structured training in working memory — the kind that allows memorization of a telephone number just long enough to dial it. This type of memory is closely related to fluid intelligence, according to background information in the article, and appears to rely on the same brain circuitry. So the researchers reasoned that improving it might lead to improvements in fluid intelligence.”

“What makes some people rebound from defeats and go on to greatness while others throw in the towel? Psychologists call it “self-efficacy,” the unshakable belief some people have that they have what it takes to succeed. First described by Stanford University psychologist Albert Bandura in the 1970s, self-efficacy has become a key concept in educational circles, and is being applied to health care, management, sports and seemingly intractable social problems like AIDS in developing countries. It’s also a hallmark of the “positive psychology” movement now sweeping the mental-health field, which focuses on developing character strengths rather than alleviating pathologies.”

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