Positive Psychology

What is Positive Psychology?

As defined by the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, "Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play." 


VIA Character Strengths Are "The Backbone Of Positive Psychology"

In 1998 Dr. Neal Mayerson, President of the Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation and a clinical psychologist, connected with Dr. Martin Seligman, renowned researcher, scholar, and author to explore the newly forming field of Positive Psychology.  As they  used social science to explore what is best about human beings, they discovered that a key construct in the science of Positive Psychology is character; specifically, the characteristics that define what's best about people. Through the support of the Mayerson Foundation and the leadership of Dr. Seligman and Dr. Chris Peterson the VIA Classification of Character Strengths, as well as the landmark publication Character Strengths and Virtues (VIA's handbook), was written.  Upon its publication it was hailed as the "backbone of Positive Psychology". 

Once the VIA Classification was complete, a new ground breaking personal strengths test, the VIA Survey, was designed specifically to measure these 24 character strengths in individuals. Since its inception, the VIA Survey has been, and is still is offered, for free by the VIA Institute so that every individual in the world can "know their 24" and use this information to lead happier, thriving lives.

Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification

Positive psychology and character strengths

Christopher Peterson, Martin Seligman

This handbook of character strengths and virtues is the first progress report from a prestigious group of researchers who have, for the first time ever in such depth, undertaken the systematic classification and measurement of widely valued positive traits.They approach character in terms of separate strengths - authenticity, persistence, kindness, gratitude, hope, humor, and so on - each of which exists in degrees. Read more about Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification.

Purchasing a copy from this Amazon.com link supports the VIA Institute's mission: Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification.

Research Around Character Strengths

The VIA Survey is currently being used in hundreds of research studies around the globe. Past research has revealed that character strengths can have a significant impact on a variety of outcomes.


Positive Psychology Resources

Stay up-to-date with Positive Psychology! We have compiled a list of experts and organizations in the field and included their Twitter handles so you can receive the latest updates from this growing science. View these Positive Psychology Resources now.


Discover the Good in You

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