Frequently Asked Questions

How was the VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues developed?

Led by Christopher Peterson, Ph.D., and Martin Seligman, Ph.D., and funded by the Mayerson Foundation, a team of 55 social scientists studied world religions, philosophies and psychology looking for agreed-upon virtues. Examples of classic works studied included:
• Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judeo-Christian traditions.
• Virtue catalogs, including those by Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Lao-Tze, Boy Scouts of America, William Bennett,  Benjamin Franklin, King Charlemagne, and Merlin. 
• The work of psychologists including Thorndike, Erikson, Maslow, Greenberger, Jahoda,  Ryff, Thurstone, Cawley, Gardner.
Dr. Peterson was the lead scientist of the development of the VIA Classification, which is described in detail in Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (Oxford University Press and American Psychological Association, 2004).


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: