In this seminar we will examine current theory, research, and practice in the field of positive psychology—the study of emotions, traits, and institutions that promote adaptive and healthy psychological functioning. We will start by discussing whether it is even possible to define and assess adaptive and healthy psychological functioning objectively—especially in relation to aging. Then we’ll explore some of the newest research on the psychological and physiological effects of positive emotions and on the success of attempts to modify and improve mood states. Finally, we will examine some of the specific, empirically-supported techniques used to improve states and traits, such as meditation and guided writing and imagery exercises.
Instructor: William Arsenio
5–6:30 P.M. in the Butterfield room
March 10, 17, 24, April 7 * Note date change for last class