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Positive Psychology

  • By: Rod A. Martin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Positive psychology is a field of study that focuses on emotions, traits, and institutions that enable people to function at their best and lead happy and fulfilling lives. This approach came to prominence in 1998, when Martin Seligman served as president of the American Psychological Association and called for a new direction in psychological research. He noted that much of the focus of psychology had been on pathology and problems in living, neglecting the study of human strengths and flourishing.

The roots of positive psychology can be traced to ancient philosophers and religious thinkers who sought to define a good life, virtuous character, and authentic happiness. In the 1960s and 1970s, humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers also emphasized the importance of studying ...

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