Historically, as a discipline, psychology focuses on decreasing maladaptive emotions and behaviors. As a complement to this focus, Positive Psychology seeks to identify and enhance the human strengths and virtues that make life worth living and allow individuals and communities to thrive. This research-based course will address the differences and assumptions inherent in this approach. In particular, the course will serve as an introduction to the study of positive emotions, positive character traits, and positive institutions. A distinction among the pleasant life, the good life, and the meaningful life is drawn. Topics may include happiness, hope, flow, gratitude, mindfulness, etc.
- Demonstrate an understanding of theory and practice of positive psychology including the study of positive emotion, positive character traits, and positive institutions, with special focus on the research methodologies utilized to study and apply these.
- Apply course content to everyday life including: becoming more keenly self-reflective in the service of enhancing positive emotions and intentionally crafting life choices that result in greater happiness and more psychologically wealthy personal and relational outcomes.
- Through in class discussion and written assignments students should be able to construct logical and coherent arguments which use authority, point-of-view, and individual voice and style in presentation.
- Understand the effects of societal, cultural, and environmental influences on the experience of emotion, character and institutions.
- Understand the relationship between people and their environments, and consider ways of improving this relationship;
- Become familiar with a variety of cultural factors that may influence successful positive interventions.