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Scholarly Publications

Citation: Quoidbach, J., Mikolajczak, M., & Gross, J.J. (2015, January 26). Positive interventions: An emotion regulation perspective. Psychological Bulletin. Advance online publication.

Researchers find that regulating one’s responses (emotion regulation) to life events increases happiness.

Learning to control emotions before, during and after a positive event can increase short-term and long-term happiness. Researchers reviewed scientific literature that included 157 positive emotion interventions. Results showed that there are several strategies that can effectively increases happiness. These strategies include selecting a situation, deploying attention, engaging in cognitive change and expressing a response. Doing so has a variety of benefits, such as helping people choose and modify situations where positive emotions are likely to occur, helping people appreciate their good fortune, and helping people foster positive emotions like joy and gratitude.  Researchers focused on empirical evidence for 25 positive interventions. They found strong evidence in support of 13 of them, including mindfulness-based therapies, applications of character strengths, acts of kindness, and the gratitude visit. 

To increase positive emotions in the short term, interventions that help people focus their attention, realize good fortune, and express positive feeling states like enjoyment had strong empirical backing. To increase positive emotions in the long term, two strategies had strong support: choosing or modifying a situation while an event unfolds, and focusing attention before, during and after an event.  

Findings could benefit research aimed at matching emotion regulation strategies and a person’s natural inclinations, leading to more tailor-made interventions.

Citation: Dodds, P.S., Clark, E.M., Desu, S., Frank, M.R., Reagan, A.J., Williams, J.R. . . Danforth, C.M. (2015). Human language reveals a universal positivity bias. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(8), 2389-2394. doi/10.1073/pnas.1411678112

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 new study examined individual words from 10 diverse languages and 24 source types including books, news media, social media, websites, music lyrics, and television and movie subtitles. Tweets alone accounted for roughly 100 billion words. Researchers pinpointed about 10,000 frequently used words in English, Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Chinese (simplified), Russian, Indonesian and Arabic. The team then paid native speakers to rate words by assigning them a smiling or frowning face; in all, some 500 million human scores were obtained.

These findings will help us to develop potent language-based tools to measure emotion, the research team said.

Videos

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Popular Books

By Shane Lopez

Social scientists have learned more about how people respond to emotional experiences in productive ways. They now know more than they once did about curbing the effects of negative emotions, about making the most of positive emotions, and about how these practices lead to positive life outcomes. Given these discoveries, this set addresses the strengths, emotions, positive growth, and human flourishing of positive psychology.

By Shane Lopez

Positive psychology, the pursuit of understanding optimal human functioning, is reshaping the scholarly and public views of how we see the science of psychology. The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology provides a comprehensive and accessible summary of this growing area of scholarship and practice.

By Ed Diener, Richard Lucas, Ulrich Schimmack, John Helliwell

In this volume, the authors explain the reasons why subjective indicators of well-being are needed. They describe how these indicators can offer useful input and provide examples of policy uses of well-being measures. The book then delves into objections to the use of subjective well-being indicators for policy purposes and discusses why these objections are not warranted. Finally, the book contains answers pertaining to the measures that are currently in use and describes the types of measures that are most likely to be valuable in the policy domain.

By Laurence Steinberg, Marc Bornstein, Deborah Lowe Vandell and Karen Rook

The combined features that distinguish this text from other titles can be summarized with an acronym: CARE: Cutting edge research Applied developmental science Readability Essential knowledge. Written by respected child, adolescent, and adulthood development experts, this authoritative and chronologically organized text presents an integrated perspective on lifespan development.

By Shane Lopez and Charles Snyder

Contributors examine the scientific underpinnings and practical application of measures of hope, optimism, self-efficacy, problem-solving, locus of control, creativity, wisdom, courage, positive emotion, self-esteem, love, emotional intelligence, empathy, attachment, forgiveness, humor, gratitude, faith, morality, coping, well-being and quality of life. Vocational and multicultural applications of positive psychological assessment are also discussed, as is the measurement of contextual variables that may facilitate the development or enhancement of human strength.

By Ed Diener and Eunkook M. Suh

This book is based on the idea that we can empirically study quality of life and make cross-society comparisons of subjective well-being (SWB). A potential problem in studying SWB across societies is that of cultural relativism: if societies have different values, the members of those societies will use different criteria in evaluating the success of their society. By examining, however, such aspects of SWB as whether people believe they are living correctly, whether they enjoy their lives, and whether others important to them believe they are living well, SWB can represent the degree to which people in a society are achieving the values they hold dear. The contributors analyze SWB in relation to money, age, gender, democracy, and other factors. Among the interesting findings is that although wealthy nations are on average happier than poor ones, people do not get happier as a wealthy nation grows wealthier.

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