September 16

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Plenary – Chapel

Positive Psychology: The Scientific Search for the Good Life (with Guest Lecturer Dr. Jennifer D'Andrea)

Positive Psychology is a new branch of a young scientific discipline. Psychology separated from philosophy in the mid to late 1800s, and since then many disparate schools of thought have sought to better understand and explain the human mind and behavior. Positive Psychology emerged roughly twenty years ago as the scientific study of human strengths and flourishing. The field has sought to offer an alternative to the traditional pathology model utilized by clinical psychology and psychiatry. Since its rise to popularity in 2000, the field has accumulated a vast research base that seeks to illuminate the fundamental components of human happiness.

  • Understand Positive Psychology’s unique approach to understanding the human experience
  • Recognize the limitations of Positive Psychology’s early Westernized definition of happiness
  • Appreciate Positive Psychology’s more recent attempts to broaden the definition of happiness in order to more accurately reflect the experiences of a wide range of people and identities
  • Understand the major remaining critique of the field as too focused on the individual without regard to context

Before Class

  • Complete the UPenn “VIA Survey of Character Strengths”
    • Begin here
    • Under Questionnaires / Get Started, scroll down and choose VIA Survey of Character Strengths
    • Register
    • Select “VIA Survey of Character Strengths” (NOT the one for children) and “Take Test”
    • Note: this will take a little while; there are 240 questions!
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After Class