You are here


This article offers a refreshing and important perspective on happiness, a subject we positive psychology researchers and practitioners spend a good deal of time and interest on. We tend to look at either internal correlations, like how optimism affects happiness levels, or external correlations, like how money affects happiness, but not how internal and external factors interact, as in a web, to affect happiness levels. Here called an "interactionist" approach, this paper is like looking through 3D glasses, one red lens, one blue, to form a picture of happiness that has more dimension, more practical applications. If happiness is an interconnected web of interactions, we can work with it from more complex and comprehensive angles, giving us more choices for interventions. We are also compelled to look more closely at how we all affect each others' happiness levels, making such work significant the community level.

Data-driven analysis of billions of words confirms a universal bias in favor of happy words.

Big Data methods applied to sources as varied as Korean Twitter feeds and Russian literature suggest that positive social interaction is built into human language. This so-called “Pollyanna Hypothesis," first proposed by University of Illinois psychologists in 1969, asserts that there is a universal human tendency to use positive words more frequently and diversely than negative words when communicating.

The following story is based on research recently published in the journal Psychological Science.

A new global organization, the International Positive Education Network (IPEN), has launched a campaign for a shift in how young people are educated. Backed by leaders in the field, IPEN's campaign is built around evidence showing that developing pupils' character strengths and well-being is as important as academic achievement to their future success and happiness. IPEN is calling on like-minded individuals and organizations to sign the Manifesto for Positive Education and demonstrate the strong desire for change we believe exists around the world.

The TANG Foundation recently awarded its first-ever prize for Achievements in Psychology to Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center and Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Psychology.

MAPP Program

Learn to apply the principles and tools of positive psychology to any professional domain or as preparation for further study in a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. program, in the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania.