Van Boven, L. (2005). Experientialism, materialism, and the pursuit of happiness [Special issue]. , (2), 132–142. doi:10.1037/1089–2618.104.22.168. Previous research indicates that materialistic aspirations are negatively associated with happiness and psychological health. Recent research extends these findings by demonstrating that allocating discretionary resources toward life experiences makes people happier than allocating discretionary resources toward material possessions. Respondents to various surveys have indicated that purchases made with the intention of acquiring life experiences make them happier than purchases made with the intention of acquiring material possessions. Thinking about experiential purchases has also been shown to produce more positive feelings than thinking about material purchases. Other studies suggest that experiential purchases make people happier because they are more open to positive reinterpretations, are more resistant to disadvantageous comparisons, and foster successful social relationships more than material purchases.
Sundararajan, L. (2005). Happiness donut: A Confucian critique of positive psychology. , (1), 35–60. doi:10.1037/h0091250. An empirically based version of the good life as proposed by positive psychology is a donut with something missing at the core–the moral map. This paper addresses ramifications of this lacuna, and suggests ways to narrow the gap between science and life. By applying an extended version of the self–regulation theory of Higgins to a cross cultural analysis of the good life as envisioned by Seligman and Confucius, respectively, this paper sheds light on the culturally encapsulated value judgments behind positive psychology, examines issues at stake in an empirically based version of the good life, and suggests, for future research, alternative approaches that may better fulfill the promises of positive psychology.
"It is when we want to talk about positive criteria of psychological functioning that we encounter the value problem head on. A good starting point for the present discussion, then, is to ask why we ever got ourselves into this difficult, intellectually treacherous business of positive mental health. Are not the problems of mental disorder enough? Why should the mental health movement be impelled, as it has been since the clays of Clifford Beers (cf. Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health, 1961), to extend itself to concern with the 'mental hygiene' of promoting positive mental health—in the absence of firm knowledge or clear guidelines?" (Smith, 1961, p. 300).
In this section I want to explore what Maslow had to say in 1954 because while many people refer to Maslow's use of the term in his book, very few sources discuss what he actually said in his chapter.
Maslow said the purpose of chapter 18, Toward a positive psychology, was to discuss a major mistake made by psychologists, "namely, their pessimistic, negative, and limited conception of the full height to which the human being can attain, their totally inadequate conception of his level of aspiration in life, and their setting of his psychological limits at too low a level" (Maslow, 1954, pp. 353- 354).
Maslow noted that "the science of psychology has been far more successful on the negative than on the positive side; it has revealed to us much about man's shortcomings, his illnesses, his sins, but little about his potentialities, his virtues, his achievable aspirations, or his full psychological height. It is as if psychology had voluntarily restricted itself to only half its rightful jurisdiction, and that the darker, meaner half" (Maslow, 1954, p. 354).
Maslow said this was the result of a systemic problem, that psychology reflected the ideology of the world outlook, an ideology heavy on technology but neglecting humanistic principles and values. This approach stresses behavior while neglecting the inner subjective life.
"Dynamic psychology was doomed to a negative derivation by the historical accident that psychiatry rather than experimental psychology concerned itself with the conative and emotional. It was from the study of neurotics and other people that we learned most of what we know about personality and motivation" (Maslow, 1954, p. 355).
In a subsection titled "low-ceiling psychology" Maslow discusses the mechanisms by which the blindness of psychology is perpetuated. One such mechanism is that psychology "consists only of defining science strictly in terms of past and what is already known" (Maslow, 1954, p. 356). Every new question or approach is then considered unscientific and there is no opportunity to forge new ground. Maslow describes how this status quo feels comfortable and has familiarity that makes change difficult (we tend to improve our homes by adding on rather than rebuilding).
Maslow quoted Kurt Lewin suggesting we study what rather than what or what be under ideal conditions because we identify the status quo with the ideal.
Part of this perpetuation is through self-fulfilling prophecy. Our belief in the negative and in limitations becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.
Experimental technique is another perpetuating factor. In many cases, the experimental design does not allow one to function to one's best because of the conditions. Maslow gave the example if we put tall people into a low ceiling room where they could not stand up and then we measured their height we would be measuring the height of the room and not the people inside. Self limiting methods measure only their own limitations.
"Hamilton generalized from poor, uneducated people. Freud generalized too much from neurotic people. Hobbes and other philosophers observed masses of mankind under very bad social and economic and educational conditions and came to conclusions that ought not to be generalized to men under good economic and political and educational conditions. This we may call low-ceiling or cripple or jungle psychology, but certainly not psychology" (Maslow, 1954, p. 359).
"The self-derogation of psychology is another responsible factor. Out of the general cultural trends already mentioned, psychologists tend to admire the technologically advanced sciences, physics, chemistry, biology, more than they do psychology, in spite of the fact that from the humanistic point of view psychology is obviously the new frontier, and by far the most important science today" (Maslow, 1954, p. 359).
We measure how intelligent an individual is under some actual condition but we do not measure how intelligent an individual could be under the best conditions. Measurement of the actual is inherently pessimistic compared to the theoretical measurement of what might be–the potentiality.
"If one is preoccupied with the insane, the neurotic, the psychopath, the criminal, the delinquent, the feeble-minded, one's hopes for the human species become perforce more and more modest, more and more realistic, more and more scaled down. One expects less and less from people" (Maslow, 1954, p. 360). [This reminds me of a quote attributed to Freud: "the more people I met, the less I liked people"] Maslow went on: "The exclusive study of our failures and breakdowns will hardly breed inspiration, hopefulness, and optimistic ambitions in either the layman or the scientist" (Maslow, 1954, p. 360).
"In a word, if we are interested in the psychology of the human species we should limit ourselves to the use of the self-actualizing, the psychologically healthy, the mature, the fulfilled, for they are more truly representative of the human species than the usual average or normal group. The psychology generated by the study of healthy people could fairly be called positive by contrast with the negative psychology we now have, which has been generated by the study of sick or average people" (Maslow, 1954, p. 361).
"This presents us with our practical difficulty of getting together large enough groups of individuals with whom to do statistically sound experimentation. This I have managed without too much loss of principle by arbitrarily using the best one out of one hundred of the general college population (the psychiatrically healthiest 1 percent). The other 99 percent are then discarded as imperfect, immature, or crippled specimens" (Maslow, 1954, p. 361).
Seligman (2011) now says the following:
"I used to think that the topic of positive psychology was happiness, that the gold standard for measuring happiness was life satisfaction, and that the goal of positive psychology was to increase life satisfaction. I now think that the topic of positive psychology is well–being, that the gold standard for measuring well–being is flourishing, and that the goal of positive psychology is to increase flourishing. This theory, which I call well–being theory, is very different from authentic happiness theory, and the difference requires explanation.
There are three inadequacies in authentic happiness theory. The first is that the dominant popular connotation of "happiness" is inextricably bound up with being in a cheerful mood. Positive emotion is the rock–bottom meaning of happiness. Critics cogently contend that authentic happiness theory arbitrarily and preemptively redefines happiness by dragging in the desiderata of engagement and meaning to supplement positive emotion. Neither engagement nor meaning refers to how we feel, and while we may desire engagement and meaning, they are not and can never be part of what "happiness" denotes.
The second inadequacy in authentic happiness theory is that life satisfaction holds too privileged a place in the measurement of happiness. Happiness in authentic happiness theory is operationalized by the gold standard of life satisfaction, a widely researched self–report measure that asks on a 1–to– 10 scale how satisfied you are with your life, from terrible (a score of 1) to ideal (10). The goal of positive psychology follows from the gold standard–to increase the amount of life satisfaction on the planet. It turns out, however, that how much life satisfaction people report is itself determined by how good we feel at the very moment we are asked the question. Averaged over many people, the mood you are in determines more than 70 percent of how much life satisfaction you report and how well you judge your life to be going at that moment determines less than 30 percent. So the old, gold standard of positive psychology is disproportionately tied to mood, the form of happiness that the ancients snobbishly, but rightly, considered vulgar. My reason for denying mood a privileged place is not snobbishness, but liberation. A mood view of happiness consigns the 50 percent of the world's population who are "low–positive affective" to the hell of unhappiness. Even though they lack cheerfulness, this low–mood half may have more engagement and meaning in life than merry people. Introverts are much less cheery than extroverts, but if public policy is based (as we shall inquire in the final chapter) on maximizing happiness in the mood sense, extroverts get a much greater vote than introverts. The decision to build a circus rather than a library based on how much additional happiness will be produced counts those capable of cheerful mood more heavily than those less capable. A theory that counts increases in engagement and meaning along with increases in positive emotion is morally liberating as well as more democratic for public policy. And it turns out that life satisfaction does not take into account how much meaning we have or how engaged we are in our work or how engaged we are with the people we love. Life satisfaction essentially measures cheerful mood, so it is not entitled to a central place in any theory that aims to be more than a happiology.
The third inadequacy in authentic happiness theory is that positive emotion, engagement, and meaning do not exhaust the elements that people choose for their own sake. "Their own sake" is the operative phrase: to be a basic element in a theory, what you choose must serve no other master. This was Sonia's challenge; she asserted that many people live to achieve, just for achievement's sake."
Lester, P. B., McBride, S., Bliese, P. D., & Adler, A. B. (2011). Bringing science to bear: An empirical assessment of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program. , (1), 77–81. doi:10.1037/a0022083This article outlines the U.S. Army's effort to empirically validate and assess the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program. The empirical assessment includes four major components. First, the CSF scientific staff is currently conducting a longitudinal study to determine if the Master Resilience Training program and the Comprehensive Resilience Modules lead to lasting resilience development in soldiers. Second, the CSF program has partnered with other researchers to conduct a series of longitudinal studies examining the link between physiological, neurobiological, and psychological resilience factors. Third, the CSF program is also incorporating institutional–level data to determine if its material influences health, behavioral, and career outcomes. Fourth, group randomized trials are being conducted to ensure that resilience training incorporated under the CSF program is effective with soldiers. A specific rationale and methodologies are discussed.
This is the ideal programme for individuals who have no previous learning knowledge in this field. It is also suitable for students to progress on to from the Level 3 Criminal course. This Criminal Psychology Diploma will investigate a range of different topics including the history of crime and punishment.
Learners will gain a real insight into the psychology of violent crime, which will equip students with an introduction and basic understanding of psychology and offender profiling. Not only this, you will be guided though a range of learning materials regarding the psychology of terrorist crimes, drug abuse, youth crime, victimology and also domestic violence. Students will also be guided through the management of crime prevention, the Criminal Justice System and also community safety.
There is no previous learning knowledge or experience needed to enrol on to this programme. This makes our Criminal Psychology Diploma easily accessible to anyone who has a keen interest in this field, and would like to develop their knowledge and understanding.
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