Home All MAPP Summit Poster Presentations Part II: Sharing Strengths

MAPP Summit Poster Presentations Part II: Sharing Strengths

written by Denise Clegg November 8, 2008

Denise Clegg, MAPP 08, is Program Officer for the Positive Neuroscience project at the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center. She also serves as a facilitator for the Penn Resilience Program and is a daily editor for Positive Psychology News Daily.

Denise writes on the 20th of each month, and her articles are here.

MAPP Penn LogoThe MAPP Summit Conference featured alumni presentations sharing some of the latest innovations in positive psychology research and application. This is Part II of a series that started on November 6.



Trecia DavisTrecia Davis presented Savoring and Family Flourishing, a research-based approach to fostering connection, shared enjoyment and collective well-being in families.

Click here to view the poster by Trecia Davis.

What kindled your early curiosity and inspired your research project?

Throughout the MAPP program, my question was never “does positive psychology hold the key to creating a deeply satisfying and thriving family life?” but “which concepts of positive psychology hold the key to creating a deeply satisfying and thriving family life?” I found many salient constructs to support or enhance family flourishing, but one stood out: savoring. Savoring is the process through which people actively attend to, appreciate, and enhance positive experiences and positive emotions toward fulfillment in life, and it became clear that families would benefit from actively sharing the good things in life together.

Davis Family Savoring
Davis Family Savoring Birthdays

What is the most important take-away you want to share about your research?

That our grandmothers were right when they said, “Take time to stop and smell the roses.” Even in our harried and busy lives, research shows we benefit from a practice of intentional and joyful living. Savoring entails using many positive psychology constructs such as mindfulness, emotional intelligence, gratitude, intrinsic motivation, and flow. For a family, using savoring as a pathway to tap into these different constructs helps create the upward spiral that leads to flourishing



Christine Duvivier presented Appreciating Beauty in The Bottom 80™ . She noted that Americans invest over $3 Billion each year to improve student performance. Instead of asking “What’s wrong with these kids?” Christine’s study asked, “What’s right with these teens?” She explained that we will increase wellbeing when we (1) appreciate that The Bottom 80™ have exactly the strengths and gifts needed to succeed in life and (2) rewrite three false myths that harm both bottom and top students.

Click here to view Christine Duvivier’s capstone poster.

What kindled your early curiosity and inspired your research project?

I was interested in adult motivation and during MAPP I was fascinated by ideas such as mature coping mechanisms*, self-actualization*, and motivation theory.* A personal tragedy caused me to search for a more meaningful topic — and led me to study the strengths, gifts, and adaptations of teens who are not top students.

Positive Leaders Logo

What is the most important take-away you want to share about your research?

Students in The Bottom 80™ — are perfectly suited for world, scientific, and corporate leadership – but our approach to education does not capitalize on their strengths and gifts. Teens with high IQ or motivation may not respond to external motivators (e.g., grades). Moreover, being a top student does not guarantee a great life—but we approach education as if it does. Changing our approach to education will end a needless cause of depression and anxiety – while appreciating teens’ inherent gifts will increase positive emotion and wellbeing: in teens, parents and teachers. For more information see: www.positiveleaders.com

*Research and models from Vaillant, Maslow, Deci and Ryan. This capstone is available from Penn Scholarly Commons.



Sherri Fisher presented an overview of positive psychology applications that have been successful in educational environments in her poster Creating Positive, Sustainable, Social-Cultural Change for Education.

Click here to open Sherri Fisher’s poster.

What kindled your early curiosity and inspired your research project?

During the MAPP program I had hundreds of ideas inspired by the intersection of positive psychology and my career in education and coaching. My poster presented tools I have successfully applied in three different venues: private education coaching, special education consulting and work bringing positive psychology to the Culver Academies through Flourishing Schools. Flourishing Schools was founded by MAPP alumni John Yeager, Dave Shearon and myself–Louis Alloro has recently joined us—we share experience and inspiration. I am particularly interested in the interconnection between individual and community well-being: happiness is viral!

Flourishing Schools Logo

What is the most important take-away you want to share about your research?

We have many tools in hand to become happier individuals, which is highly desirable for numerous well-researched reasons. But it is not enough to be happier alone, since other people matter! We can apply positive psychology to create positive communities; we can broaden and build well-being by intentionally knowing and sharing individual strengths and building collective efficacy.



Lindy O’BrienLindy O’Brien’s poster presented a strengths-based approach to conducting a job search in her poster The RedZone Career Network, which is also the name of her new company. The RedZone approach integrates positive psychology and job search training in an interactive environment so that individuals can share and practice strengths during training, with the goal of enhanced performance, higher engagement, and increased positive emotions.

What kindled your early curiosity and inspired your research project?

I have worked as an executive recruiter for many years and had been thinking of creating a new method for helping people when I began the MAPP program. My experience and research all came together into an innovative approach bringing together the strengths and connections of a group of job seekers in an affordable and positive way.

Dawn of a New Perspective
Graphic from Lindy’s Poster

What is the most important take-away you want to share about your research?

Joblessness not only affects the economy of a nation and a community, but being unemployed can have dramatic and longer lasting impact on individuals and their families. It has been shown to be one of the most stressful events in life, second only to losing a spouse. How someone feels about him or herself really impacts success or failure at securing a new job, and positive psychology offers many valuable interventions that can increase well-being and make a person more successful.


Bryant, F. & Veroff, J. (2007). Savoring: A new model of positive experience. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Deci, E. & Ryan, R. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55 (1), 68-78. Download for personal use only.

Deci, E. & Ryan, R. Ed. (2002). The handbook of self-determination research. University of Rochester Press.

Duvivier, C. (2007). Appreciating beauty in the bottom 80. Capstone project for the MAPP program at the University of Pennsylvania. Available from Penn Scholarly Commons.

Maslow, A. (1993). The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (An Esalen Book). New York: Penguin (Non-Classics).

Vaillant, G. (1998). Adaptation to Life. New York, NY: Harvard University Press.

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