Frequently Asked Questions

What is a signature strength?

A convention in positive psychology is to consider the top 5 strengths on the VIA Survey to be “signature strengths.” Research has revealed that some people have less than 5 and a large number of people have more than 5 signature strengths. The most important criterion in considering whether a character strength is signature, or not, is whether the strength is essential and “core” to who the person is. Additional characteristics of signature strengths include:
• Sense of ownership and authenticity; “this is the real me”
• Consistent, wide use across life domains and situations
• Feeling of excitement while displaying it, particularly at first
• Easy and natural to use - a rapid learning curve
• Continuous learning of new ways to enact the strength
• A yearning to act in accordance with the strength
• A feeling of inevitability in using the strength, as if one cannot be stopped
• Feeling energized, rather than exhausted in using it  
• A creation and pursuit of fundamental projects that revolve around it
• Intrinsic motivation to use the strength


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: