Designing Positive Psychology: Taking Stock and Moving Forward

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Positive psychology exploded into public consciousness 10 years ago and has continued to capture attention around the world ever since. The movement promised to study positive human nature, using only the most rigorous scientific tools and theories. How well has this promise been fulfilled? This book evaluates the first decade of this fledgling field of study from the perspective of nearly every leading researcher in the field.

Scholars in the areas of social, personality, clinical, biological, emotional, and applied psychology take stock of their fields, while bearing in mind the original manifesto and goals of the postive psychology movement. They provide honest, critical evaluations of the flaws and untapped potential of their fields of study. The contributors design the optimal future of positive psychology by addressing gaps, biases, and methodological limitations, and exploring exciting new questions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As positive psychology enters its second decade as a formally-christened perspective, it is important to take stock and also to plan ahead. The present volume accordingly deserves a place on the bookshelf (and desk) of everyone concerned with the scientific study of what makes life worth living."
- Christopher Peterson, Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan

"I couldn't put this book down! The chapters demonstrate a rare uniformity of excellence - replete with rigorous review and critique of theory, empirical research, thoughtful commentary, and provocative suggestions. After a decade of being described as an 'emerging' field,' positive psychology is maturing and coming into its own. This important volume offers an unparalleled glimpse into state-of-the-art research, theory, and applications in positive psychology - from past, present, and future. This fantastic book should be required reading for anyone - researchers and laypeople alike - interested in flourishing individuals, institutions, and societies."
- Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Riverside

"One of the most important books to appear in positive psychology, Designing Positive Psychology offers thoughtful presentations of what we have learned so far, the limits of our knowledge, and where we need to go next in the field. Anyone who wants to be a master of the science of positive psychology must read this authoritative, up-to-date, and thorough volume." —Ed Diener, Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Editor, Perspectives on Psychological Science

Consistent with Kashdan and Steger's introductory aims for the book (Chapter 2), I believe this book does present a useful overview of "what we know and . . . where positive psychology needs to go in the future in order to best realize its huge potential" (p. 19). The book also succeeds in enhancing the "conceptual complexity" of positive psychology and its
"underlying connectivity to the broader research base of psychology" (p. 19). — Michael Hogan, PsycCRITIQUES

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195373585
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/31/2011
  • Series: Series in Positive Psychology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 504
  • Sales rank: 1,480,664
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Kennon M. Sheldon is Professor of Psychology at the University of Missouri. He hopscotched the country, from Virginia to Seattle to California to Rochester NY, and is now ensconced in the middle, in Missouri. He has been involved in the positive psychology movement since its inception in Akumal, Mexico, in 1999, and is an author of the positive psychology manifesto, which helped guide the contributors to this book. He has three children. His wife is an evolutionary psychologist who keeps him on his toes.

Todd Kashdan is Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Social Anxiety, Character Strengths, and Related Phenomena at George Mason University. Kashdan is devoted to conducting cutting edge science, educating the public about science, maintaining some semblance of a once athletic body, and sharing and expanding his world with the three women in his life, Sarah, Chloe, and Raven. To date, he has published over 100 articles and book chapters and made over 100 presentations at scientific conferences. His most recent book is Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life.

Michael Steger is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Colorado State University. He is fascinated with what makes life worth living, and learning how people overcome the factors that can make life miserable at times. He practices savoring every chance he gets to wander into the Colorado mountains, and reminds himself what really matters by spending a good quantity of good quality time with his family. Most of his research has focused on living a meaningful life, and he tries to enact what this research shows in his own life. Steger's next co-edited book seeks to apply what we know about meaning to people's work lives (Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace).

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Table of Contents


1 Positive Psychology: Where Did It Come From, Where Is It Going?
Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi & Jeanne Nakamura

2 Challenges, Pitfalls, and Aspirations for Positive Psychology
Todd B. Kashdan & Michael F. Steger


3 Positive Psychophysiology: The Body and Self-Regulation
Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Timothy W. Smith, & Tory A. Eisenlohr-Moul

4 Positive Psychological States and Biological Processes
Carissa A. Low, Julienne E. Bower, Judith T. Moskowitz, & Elissa S. Epel

5 The Primary Process Affects in Human Development, Happiness, and Thriving
Jaak Panksepp


6 Beyond Pleasure and Pain? Emotion Regulation and Positive Psychology
Maya Tamir & James J. Gross

7 The Positive Psychology of Positive Emotions: An Avuncular View
Shigehiro Oishi & Jaime Kurtz

8 The Future of Emotions Research within Positive Psychology
Sara B. Algoe, Barbara L. Fredrickson, & Sy-Miin Chow


9 The Role of Hypo-egoic Self-processes in Optimal Functioning and Subjective Well-Being
Mark R. Leary & Jennifer Guadagno

10 Experiential Processing and the Integration of Light and Dark Sides of the Human Psyche
Kirk Warren Brown & Melissa Holt

11 A Task-Focused Mind is a Happy and Productive Mind: A Processing Perspective
Michael D. Robinson & Maya Tamir

12 Finding Positive Value in Human Consciousness: Conscious Thought Serves Participation in Society and Culture
E. J. Masicampo & Roy F. Baumeister


13 Personality Traits and the Potential of Positive Psychology
Robert R. McCrae

14 Character and Personality: Connections Between Positive Psychology and Personality Psychology
Erik E. Noftle, Sarah A. Schnitker & Richard W. Robins

15 Personality Science and the Northern Tilt: As Positive as Possible Under the Circumstances
Brian R. Little

16 Why Gratitude Enhances Well-Being: What We Know, What We Need to Know
Robert A. Emmons & Anjali Mishra


17 The Positive Side of Close Relationships
Shelly L. Gable & Courtney Gosnell

18 Positive Relationship Science: A New Frontier for Positive Psychology?
Nathaniel M. Lambert, Frank D. Fincham, A. Marlea Gwinn, & Christine A. Ajayi

19 Coaching and Positive Psychology
Anthony M Grant & Michael J Cavanagh


20 The Dog Woman, Addie Bundren, and the Ninth Circle of Hell: Positive Psychology Should Be More Open to the Negative
Jennifer L. Hames & Thomas E. Joiner, Jr.

21 Meaning and Growth within Positive Psychology: Towards a More Complete Understanding
Crystal L. Park

22 Mindfulness and Positive Psychological Functioning
Ruth A. Baer & Emily L. B. Lykins


23 Positive Psychological Capital in the Workplace: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go
Carolyn M. Youssef & Fred Luthans

24 Organizational Applications of Positive Psychology: Taking Stock and a Research / Practice Roadmap for the Future
P. Alex Linley, Nicky Garcea (nee Page), Susan Harrington, Emma Trenier & Gurpal Minhas


25 Place and Well-Being
Richard Florida & Peter J. Rentfrow

26 Greater Happiness For A Greater Number: Is that possible? If so how?
Ruut Veenhoven

27 Positive Psychology as a Force for Social Change
Robert Biswas-Diener, P. Alex Linley, Reena Govindji & Linda Woolston


28 What's Positive about Positive Psychology? Reducing Value-Bias and Enhancing Integration within the Field
Kennon M. Sheldon

29 To Celebrate Positive Psychology and Extend Its Horizons
Gordon Bermant, Charu Talwar, & Paul Rozin

30 Are We There Yet? What Happened on the Way to the Demise of Positive Psychology
Laura A. King

31 Positive Psychology in Historical and Philosophical Perspective: Predicting Its Future from the Past
Dean Keith Simonton

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