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Confirmation bias - Wikipedia

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Success of positive psychology 2)

Science reveals that about 50m percent of our happiness is based on brain wiring; 40 percent is owed to how we interpret and respond to what happens to us, and 10 percent is driven by our circumstances.

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Bacon, S. F. (2005). Positive psychology's two cultures [Special issue]. , (2), 181–192. doi:10.1037/1089–2680.9.2.181. The rise of positive psychology has contributed to the scientific study of human strengths and virtues. This article identifies two types of character strengths: focus strengths, exemplified by creativity, and balance strengths, exemplified by wisdom. Which type we pursue influences how we organize our personal and professional lives, including choices about what we do, where we do it, and what values we promote as professional practitioners, researchers, and teachers. G. A. Kimble (1984) identified two cultures of psychology based on members' commitments to scientific or humanistic values. In a similar manner, two cultures of positive psychology, defined by the focus–balance distinction, are suggested here. Additional implications of the focus–balance distinction are discussed.

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Seligman, M. E. P., Parks, A. C., & Steen, T. A. (2004). A balanced psychology and a full life. , (1449), 1379–81. doi:10.1098/rstb.2004.1513. Psychology since World War II has been largely devoted to repairing weakness and understanding suffering. Towards that end, we have made considerable gains. We have a classification of mental illness that allows international collaboration, and through this collaboration we have developed effective psychotherapeutic or pharmacological treatments for 14 major mental disorders. However, while building a strong science and practice of treating mental illness, we largely forgot about everyday well–being. Is the absence of mental illness and suffering sufficient to let individuals and communities flourish? Were all disabling conditions to disappear, what would make life worth living? Those committed to a science of positive psychology can draw on the effective research methods developed to understand and treat mental illness. Results from a new randomized, placebo–controlled study demonstrate that people are happier and less depressed three months after completing exercises targeting positive emotion. The ultimate goal of positive psychology is to make people happier by understanding and building positive emotion, gratification and meaning. Towards this end, we must supplement what we know about treating illness and repairing damage with knowledge about nurturing well–being in individuals and communities.

Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. , (1), 5–14. doi:10.1037/0003–066X.55.1.5. A science of positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions promises to improve quality of life and prevent the pathologies that arise when life is barren and meaningless. The exclusive focus on pathology that has dominated so much of our discipline results in a model of the human being lacking the positive features that make life worth living. Hope, wisdom, creativity, future mindedness, courage, spirituality, responsibility, and perseverance are ignored or explained as transformations of more authentic negative impulses. The 15 articles in this millennial issue of the American Psychologist discuss such issues as what enables happiness, the effects of autonomy and self–regulation, how optimism and hope affect health, what constitutes wisdom, and how talent and creativity come to fruition. The authors outline a framework for a science of positive psychology, point to gaps in our knowledge, and predict that the next century will see a science and profession that will come to understand and build the factors that allow individuals, communities, and societies to flourish.

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Keyes, C. L. M., Shmotkin, D., & Ryff, C. D. (2002). Optimizing well–being: The empirical encounter of two traditions. , (6), 1007–1022. doi:10.1037/0022–3514.82.6.1007. Subjective well–being (SWB) is evaluation of life in terms of satisfaction and balance between positive and negative affect; psychological well–being (PWB) entails perception of engagement with existential challenges of life. The authors hypothesized that these research streams are conceptually related but empirically distinct and that combinations of them relate differentially to sociodemographics and personality. Data are from a national sample of 3,032 Americans aged 25–74. Factor analyses confirmed the related–but–distinct status of SWB and PWB. The probability of optimal well–being (high SWB and PWB) increased as age, education, extraversion, and conscientiousness increased and as neuroticism decreased. Compared with adults with higher SWB than PWB, adults with higher PWB than SWB were younger, had more education, and showed more openness to 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. , (3), 242–251. doi:10.1037/a0017152 Purpose—a cognitive process that defines life goals and provides personal meaning—may help explain disparate empirical social science findings. Devoting effort and making progress toward life goals provides a significant, renewable source of engagement and meaning. Purpose offers a testable, causal system that synthesizes outcomes including life expectancy, satisfaction, and mental and physical health. These outcomes may be explained best by considering the motivation of the individual—a motivation that comes from having a purpose. We provide a detailed definition with specific hypotheses derived from a synthesis of relevant findings from social, behavioral, biological, and cognitive literatures. To illustrate the uniqueness of the purpose model, we compared purpose with competing contemporary models that offer similar predictions. Addressing the structural features unique to purpose opens opportunities to build upon existing causal models of "how and why" health and well–being develop and change over time.

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Diener, E., Scollon, C. N., & Lucas, R. E. (2009). Assessing Well–Being. In E. Diener (Ed.), (Vol. 39, pp. 67–100). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/978–90–481–2354–4_4. Subjective well–being, or what is popularly often called "happiness," has been of intense interest throughout human history. We review research showing that it is not a single factor, but that subjective well–being is composed of a number of separable although somewhat related variables. For example, positive feelings, negative feelings, and life satisfaction are clearly separable. In understanding the various types of subjective well–being, it is important to remember that appraisals move from immediate situations to a later recall of feelings, and then to global evaluations of life. At each stage, from momentary feelings to large global life evaluations, somewhat different processes are involved in what is called "happiness." In order to understand how to measure subjective well–being, one must understand the time course and components of the phenomenon in question, and be clear about what is most important to assess. On–line feelings are very different from global evaluations of life, although both have been studied under the rubric of subjective well–being. Although debate has focused on which type of subjective well–being should be called "true happiness," the goal of scientists is to understand each type, their relations with each other, and their causes. The future of the field depends on understanding the differences between various types of well–being, and the different and similar causes of each.

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Atherton, J., Graham, E., & Steedman, I. (Eds.). (2011). Oxon, England: Routledge. There is growing evidence that rising levels of prosperity in Western economies since 1945 have not been matched by greater incidences of reported wellbeing and happiness. Indeed, material affluence is often accompanied instead by greater social and individual distress. A growing literature within the humanities and social sciences is increasingly concerned to chart not only the underlying trends in recorded levels of happiness, but to consider what factors, if any, contribute to positive and sustainable experiences of wellbeing and quality of life. Increasingly, such research is focusing on the importance of values and beliefs in human satisfaction or quality of life; but the specific contribution of religion to these trends is relatively under-examined. This unique collection of essays seeks to rectify that omission, by identifying the nature and role of the religious contribution to wellbeing.

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