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Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD1

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.00001.x


Positive Psychology has burgeoned in the past decade. From gleams in the eyes of Ray Fowler, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and me in 1998 it has grown into a discipline. It can boast of: •  several thousand journal articles; •  two dozen tradebooks; •  a handful of textbooks, for example Peterson's Primer of Positive Psychology and Snyder and Lopez's Positive Psychology; •  substantial scientific grants; •  flourishing research laboratories; •  research and practice centers around the globe; •  the International Positive Psychology Association with more than 2,500 members; •  hundreds of courses including the most popular one at Harvard; •  advanced degree programs led by the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology at Penn; •  a website www.authentichappiness.org with more than one million registrants; and •  best of all – critics (happiness is not motherhood and apple pie)! Googling “Positive Psychology” from 1900 to 1997 will get you a handful of citations, since 1998; however, there are several hundred thousand references. Why has Positive Psychology become a legitimate and popular scholarly endeavor, say in contrast to Humanistic Psychology of the 1950s, which shares many of its premises with one major exception – mainstream, cumulative, and replicable scientific method? The city of Florence in the fifteenth century offers a clue. When nations are at war, in famine, poor, and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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