Home All Positive Emotions come alive at PPND – the first Image Map

Positive Emotions come alive at PPND – the first Image Map

written by Editor S.M. 4 June 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)

positive_emotions_imap.JPGHere at Positive Psychology News Daily (PPND), we have been thinking about how to make the incredible content from our various authors come together and be manageable for you to be able to go back to older articles.

We have created the first of many Image Maps, this one on Positive Emotions. Click on it to see the different components of positive emotions that our authors have discussed.


Update on July 26, 2008: The links above have been updated to point to the updated image map of Positive Emotions. Just in case you have a reason to go back to the old one, here’s a link to the
retired first Positive Emotions Image Map.


The creator of both the idea for these Image Maps and of the first Image Map for positive emotions is Kathryn Britton. In addition to Kathryn’s articles on the 7th of each month, Kathryn is also the keeper of the calendar-view of articles, which is a more visual way to view past articles than viewing the article Table-of-Contents.

What questions do we have for you? Since this is the first of many Image Maps, our questions are (and we very much would love to see your responses in the comments section below):

  1. How do you like this first Image Map for Positive Emotions? What’s the best part of this? How do you like the subcategories? How do you like all the PPND articles and other references linked to? What else do you wish we were doing here?
  2. What categories do you absolutely believe we will need for future Image Maps?

Thank you!

On behalf of our team at PPND,
Our best,

p.s. We are also glad to announce the Image Map for Positive Emotions the day after reviewing George Vaillant’s book, which is primarily about positive emotions.

Not seeing the pictures for the book links? Disable Adblocking for this site to view them.

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David J. Pollay 4 June 2008 - 12:43 pm

Hi Senia and Kathryn,

I think it’s great! I love the visual. Congrats to Kathryn for her good work. The Image Map is an easy way to get a good sense of the subject quickly. And you know I like to work with “mind maps,” so this is right up my alley.

Thanks for the great addition to PPND.


Pat MacKinnon 5 June 2008 - 8:52 am

I love your Image Map! It is a great visual organizer, and the summary and article links for each emotion makes everything very easy to find. It certainly encourages lots of reading. I look forward to your future additions!

Stuart Coupe 5 June 2008 - 1:39 pm

Yes the visual web is a great way to get an overview etc. Great. I am personally uneasy though with using the word ’emotion’ in the centre. Is gratitude an emotion or an act conducted on the basis of a positive experience? Are these constructs more cognitive than emotional? The arguments about definitions of emotions etc are well documented and whilst not ultimately definitive, tighter than your diagram might suggest. I am concerned that aspects of Positive Psychology, whilst claiming to remain based on science, will fall into the trap that ’emotional intelligence’ has arguably fallen into by becoming very ill-defined and possibly meaningless. As a starter for discussion, I am happier with the word emotion being used to refer to the ‘basic’ emotions of joy, distress, anger, fear, surprise, disgust (Evans, 2001, Emotion, The Science of Sentiment). Perhaps ‘Positive emotions, experiences and thoughts’ might be an alternative to the yellow centre, though I’m sure other readers will be able to do better! Stuart Coupe, UK

Stuart Coupe 5 June 2008 - 1:44 pm

Oh, and by the way, there is an excellent web in Boniwell’s ‘Positive psychology in a Nutshell'(2006) It is quite complex but might be simplified. Perhaps she will let you adapt it?
Contact her at University of East London, Psychology Dept. UK.

Editor K.H.B. 5 June 2008 - 9:04 pm


Thanks for the pointer to Boniwell’s map. I’ll look into it.

Barbara Fredrickson has an interesting discussion in Positive Emotions (chapter 9 of Handbook of Positive Psych) about why positive emotions get sidelined. She comments that emotion theorists tend to think emotions are associated with specific action tendencies — fear with the urge to escape, anger with the urge to attack. For positive emotions, action tendencies tend to be much harder to pin down. So theorists may neglect positive emotions because they don’t fit the emotion models well.

Certainly “gratitude” is a broad term. One can feel grateful — and that is an emotion. One can develop the capability to feel grateful more often — and that is a character strength. One can practice looking for things to feel grateful about — and that is a positive activity. I suspect we’ll link to Gratitude from multiple maps before all is said and done.

Stimulating question. Thanks for raising it!


Todd Kashdan 13 June 2008 - 2:53 pm

I am extremely glad to see that you are starting to synthesize the wide array of ideas in positive psychology. Let me suggest one addition to your ever evolving concept map (which is a good thing). Emotion regulation can occur before you even have an emotional experience (antecedent focused strategies) as well as after you have an emotion (response focused strategies, which is what you mapped). To give an example, I might be about to give a talk at a conference and remind myself that my wife is going to be there and I have given successful talks dozens of times in my career. I modified my thoughts about the situation before it even occurred, effectively managing my mood to be less worried, more engaged, and more excited. During the talk, I might find that my heart is racing after I accidentally belch while moving to the next powerpoint slide. I might realize the absurdity of the situation and when I see people laughing, I might recognize the humor in it if I was in the crowd listening to a gaseous speaker. And so, I work with my emotions while I am experiencing them. I think you definitely want to capture this timing aspect of managing and working with emotions if you want to include it in the map. See the work by James Gross at Stanford University for this notion of emotion regulation.

just a thought.
nice work.


Senia Maymin 14 June 2008 - 3:54 pm


Thanks for the note. Totally agree with you. We are thrilled to be able to put some structure on things – just to be able to sort more efficiently, and to quickly reach specific articles.

I know what you mean by that pre-emotion moment. One of our writers, Nicholas Hall, covers EI and emotional regulation and is familiar with James Gross’ work, so we’ll get him to weigh in on where emotional regulation may fit.

If someone reading this comment has additional recommendations, please let Kathryn Britton and me know in this comment section.

One question I have is whether emotional regulation is a cognitive process (because we’ll be doing a separate framework for cognitive processes) or an emotional process – I would initially lean towards cognitive.

Thank you!

Dave Shearon 15 June 2008 - 10:38 am

OK – I’m jazzed. Love graphical organizers. Reminds me of how Senia, David Pollay, and I kept notes in Mapp:

Louise Lambert 26 July 2008 - 12:14 pm

What good timing! I am currently doing a paper for my research courses of the PhD on concepts in Positive Psychology and was having a really difficult time wrapping my head around what goes where … This will likely reflect my ignorance but my question is this: How do you know what is a concept, versus just a clever idea? What makes a concept valid in this field, i.e. when there is enough evidence to distinguish it from other concepts… can we consider, for example, eudaimonia, hedonia concepts? Can we consider Seligman’s (2002) three pathways to happiness, i.e. pleasure, engagement & flow, and meaning as concepts? Why or why not? As you see I am trying to get some info for my paper but it will likely be some good information for anyone…you can reply here or to me personally at ltlamber@yahoo.com….thanks.
Looking forward to hearing some of your thoughts.

Editor K.H.B. 26 July 2008 - 2:16 pm


I have a pragmatic view point about your question — “How do you know what is a concept, versus just a clever idea?” I like the way the statistician George Box expressed it: “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” So do the words hedonia and eudaimonia help you make useful distinctions? Do the three pathways help you keep track of different aspects of what’s going on?

There’s nothing magical, for example, about the number 24 for character strengths. There could be 26 or 30 or 100 or … I expect the number will grow over the years. But I can actually remember 24 character strengths organized into six virtue categories, so I find the organization useful.

I think concepts suggest new avenues of inquiry for research that then may require the concepts to be updated.

Is that helpful?

Editor K.H.B. 26 July 2008 - 2:16 pm


I hope you found your way to the updated image map for Positive Emotions — this one is retired. Go to



Barry Elias 15 February 2009 - 9:44 am

June 5, 2008

Dear Senia,

The Image Map of Positive Emotions is a wonderful concept.

The categorical organization is effective as it provides specific articles and references for more in depth analysis.

I wholly subscribe to the positive psychology model.

The exercise performed last session (Happiness Meetup, Columbia) seems key: Identify transferable strengths.

This enables growth in positive segments and a dilution of negative sectors. Moreover, it provides an improved perspective to learn from the shortcomings and to accept future challenges and opportunities (a virtuous spiral upward).

I look forward to our next session, Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 7 PM (I submitted my “Yes” RSVP via the website yesterday).

Barry Elias

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