Frequently Asked Questions

What is Positive Psychology?

Positive psychology has been defined in several ways over the years from being viewed as the science of well-being, the science of what is going right with people, the science behind what makes life worth living, and so forth. The original definition, as described by Martin Seligman during his Presidential year of the American Psychological Association in 1998, is that positive psychology is the scientific study of:

  • Positive subjective experience (positive emotions)
  • Positive individual traits (positive character)
  • Institutions that enable positive experiences and positive traits (positive institutions)
  • Positive social relationships (added in 2007)
  • Positive accomplishment/achievement (added in 2007)

Positive Psychology is studied and applied across professions (e.g., business, education, counseling, coaching, etc.) and in all the domains of life. For example: 

  • Self (Personal & Internal)
  • Home and Family
  • Work & School
  • Social Relationships & Community


Further questions?

Contact the VIA Institute: 

The VIA Institute on Character
312 Walnut Street, Suite 3600
Cincinnati, OH 45202
VIA's Communications Specialist Kelly Aluise: