The roots of inquiry into what is good about human nature and optimal human functioning can be traced back to Aristotle. Indeed, the initial impetus of modern psychology was to gain an understanding of transcendent experience. This objective was echoed in humanistic psychology’s interest in the self-actualizing potential of human beings. However, following World War II, psychology’s emphasis shifted to a predominant attention on pathology, prevention, and human malfunctioning. In 1998, the president of the American Psychological Association, Martin Seligman, made the clarion call for a new psychological emphasis that he termed positive psychology, which he described as the “study of what constitutes the pleasant life, the engaged life, and the meaningful life.” Such an emphasis was aimed at redirecting the focus of psychology on ...

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