New for the Fifth World Congress is a Presidential Symposium along with a series of Founder’s Symposia curated by the most eminent scholars in our field – Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, David Cooperrider, and Barbara Fredrickson. Each influential researcher shares the big stage with a hand-picked set of early-career scientists whose voices and work they feel should be known by all. Don’t miss the chance to witness the future of our field unfold!
Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D.
Positive emotions produce nonconscious and increasing motives for wellness behaviors
Barb’s scientific work has influenced scholars and practitioners worldwide, in disciplines ranging from education and business to healthcare, the military, and beyond. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, NPR, PBS, The Atlantic, The Economist, Oprah Magazine and elsewhere. She has been invited to present her research at the White House and for the Dalai Lama and she is the current President of the International Positive Psychology Association.
Martin Seligman, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology: Past, Present, Future
A personal walk through the history of the discipline.
Martin E.P. Seligman is the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology and Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focuses on positive psychology, learned helplessness, depression, and optimism. He is a best-selling author of several books, including Flourish. He received the American Psychological Society’s William James Fellow Award for basic science and Cattell Award for the application of science, and two Distinguished Scientific Contribution awards from the American Psychological Association. In 1996, Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association by the largest vote in modern history. His current mission is the attempt to transform social science to work on the best things in life – strengths, positive emotion, good relationships, meaning, and human flourishing.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D.
Towards a Planetary Consciousness
David Cooperrider, Ph.D.
Appreciative Inquiry and the Macro Promise of Positive Psychology
David is best known for his original theoretical articulation of “AI” or Appreciative Inquiry with his mentor Suresh Srivastva. He has published 25 books and authored over 100 articles and book chapters. David has also served as advisor to prominent leaders in business and society, including projects with five Presidents and/or Nobel Laureates such as William Jefferson Clinton, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kofi Annan, and Jimmy Carter. David advises a wide variety of corporations including Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Hunter Douglas, Cleveland Clinic, National Grid, as well as the U.S. Navy and United Nations. Jane Nelson, at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Leadership recently wrote, “David Cooperrider is one of the outstanding scholar-practitioners of our generation.” www.DavidCooperrider.com
Lahnna Catalino, Ph.D.
Elise Rice, Ph.D.
Do positive spontaneous thoughts function as incentive salience?
Patty Van Cappellen, Ph.D.
Spirituality as a path from and toward positivity
She is an experimental social psychologist investigating such questions as “Why do people turn to religion or spirituality?” and “What are the psychological, contextual, and biological underpinnings of religion’s best and worst outcomes?” Currently, she is particularly interested in the study of self-transcendent emotions (e.g., awe, elevation), their relation to meaning in life and well-being, and their biological underpinnings. She is also investigating the mechanisms explaining religion’s link to prejudice and real antisocial behaviors. She uses experimental designs and quantitative analyses.
Teaching Well-being Enhances Academic Performance: Evidence from around the World
The Case for “Thank You”
Sara Algoe received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Virginia. She subsequently completed National Institute of Mental Health-sponsored Postdoctoral training in Health Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and in psychophysiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC. Here, she is the Director of the Emotions and Social Interactions in Relationships (EASIR, pronounced “easier”) Laboratory.
Dr. Algoe’s basic research questions illuminate the social interactions at the heart of high-quality relationships. These include giving to others, expressing gratitude, and sharing laughter.
She is known for the development of the find-remind- and-bind theory of gratitude, which – at its core – posits that the emotional response of gratitude helps to solve a central problem of human survival: identifying high-quality relationship partners and keeping them interested in the relationship. More broadly, Algoe has studied the dynamics of social interactions in the context of friendships, romantic couples, coworkers, and new acquaintances. Her work has been supported by numerous grants, and has been featured in prominent national and international media, including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NPR, and the BBC.
Positive Leadership and Positive Energy
Dr. Cameron’s past research has been published in more than 130 academic articles and 15 scholarly books. He was recently recognized as among the top 10 scholars in the world whose work in the organizational sciences has been most frequently downloaded from Google.
His degrees are from Brigham Young University and Yale University. His current research focuses on positive leadership and on organizational virtuousness. He is one of the founders of the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan.
He and his wife have seven children.
Geoffrey Cohen, Ph.D.
Creating turning points: Targeted, tailored, and timely psychological intervention
The methods that my lab uses include laboratory experiments, longitudinal studies, content analyses, and randomized field experiments. One specific area of research addresses the effects of group identity on achievement, with a focus on under-performance and racial and gender achievement gaps. Additional research programs address hiring discrimination, the psychology of closed-mindedness and inter-group conflict, and psychological processes underlying anti-social and health-risk behavior.
Darren Coppin, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology & Impacting Policy
We examine 1) how world-leading outcomes have been achieved with 100,000 “jobseekers” and 2) why a government department, no-longer interested in positive psychology, is funding a national program of positive psychology workshops for tens of thousands of the most vulnerable in society.
He has found that implementing positive psychological interventions to a sometimes resistant client group needs a good deal of contextualisation – but it has yielded world-leading return to work outcomes from almost 100,000 adults across three continents. An MBA (Cranfield) and a track record working with government departments has enforced an ability to bridge the sometimes alien worlds of academia, policy and real-world implementation – with some debunking of conventional wisdom along the way.
Alia Crum, Ph.D.
Positive Health Psychology
Robert Easton, MAPP
Collective Workplace Flourishing – Development and Validation of a Multi-dimensional Scale
Bob has deep interest in understanding, measuring and creating the conditions for flourishing workplace collectives. He is currently enrolled in a Doctorate in Management and Design of Sustainable Systems at Case Western Reserve University, USA, where he holds two fellowships: Doctor of Management Design Fellow and Fellow, Fowler Center for Sustainable Value, Case Western Reserve. Bob also holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Victoria University (NZ), a graduate diploma in psychology from Massey University (NZ), a Master of Defense Studies from Deakin University (Australia), a Master of Business Administration from Macquarie University (Australia) and a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Johannes Eichstaedt, M.S.
Measuring Well-Being through Big Data
Shelly Gable, Ph.D.
Capitalizing on the Positives in Close Relationships
People turn to others when good things happen, a process called capitalization. I will discuss our work showing that capitalization plays an important role in well-being and the regulation of emotion, influences the formation of and intimacy in relationships, and contributes to perceptions of the availability of future support when bad things happen.
Lindsey Godwin, Ph.D.
Appreciative Inquiry’s Positive Change Equation
Aaron Jarden, Ph.D.
Cross-cultural conceptions of ‘wellbeing’
These talks present results that extend conceptual and definitional clarity on what wellbeing is across cultures, and provides a richer understanding of ‘wellbeing.’
Dr Aaron Jarden works half time as a Senior Lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, and half time as a wellbeing consultant and social entrepreneur. He has multiple academic qualifications in philosophy, computing, education, and psychology, and is a prolific author and presenter. Dr Jarden consults to many of New Zealand and Australia’s top companies, and both governments. He is also co-founder and co-editor of the International Journal of Wellbeing, president of the New Zealand Association of Positive Psychology, lead investigator for the International Wellbeing Study, co-investigator of the Sovereign New Zealand Wellbeing Index, founder of The Tuesday Program, co-founder of Heart of Wellbeing, and Senior Scientist for to companies Work on Wellbeing, Assessing Wellbeing in Education, Plus Wellbeing, and the Superhero Program.
Meaning and Randomness
We often think of random events as the enemy of meaning, requiring us to “create meaning.” In this talk I will describe research on the complex relationship between randomness, chance, and chaos and the experience of meaning in life.
Above and beyond Perseverance: How the Research and Practical Applications on Finnish Sisu Can Expand our Understanding of Endurance in the Face of Adversity
Sisu is an age-old Finnish word denoting extraordinary determination in the face of adversity, which the individual deems significant. It arose from the harsh conditions the early Finnish settlers were forced to endure. After centuries, sisu is still considered one of the core elements of Finnish culture. However, it has no direct translation and the construct has remained poorly defined and under researched. Recently, it has become the focus of a PhD research that utilizes grounded theory and action research.
Sisu overlaps with certain achievement aspects of perseverance and grit but differs in its emphasis on short-term intensity rather than long-term stamina and focus. The most pronounced features of sisu do not relate to goal-setting, passion, or bouncing back after adversity but it is perhaps most accurately seen as individuals’ potential to exceed themselves and take action in a moment when their observed capacities appear to have been consumed. Sisu is a new term in the field of positive psychology and may contribute to our understanding of the determinants resilience and overcoming adversity. The research has also translated into practical projects that engage communities, not only in its native Finland, but globally.
Research on sisu offers an example of how clarifying constructs, previously deemed untranslatable and ambiguous, can help individuals make sense of their experiences. Words shape our thinking and influence how we describe our shared human experience. It is of utmost importance that the conceptual building blocks of psychology do not rely on a culturally thin sample of ideas, but become increasingly more representative of our humanity as a whole.
Steve Leventhal, MPA
Positive Psychology: The Missing Link in Reducing Global Poverty?
Steve has served as CorStone’s Executive Director since 2008, overseeing strategic planning, program development, and operations. Having launched CorStone’s ‘Girls First-India’ program in 2009, today over 50,000 youth receive resilience training in hundreds of India’s government schools in rural villages and urban slums.
Steve has served as an executive and strategy consultant in the US, Asia and Africa to start-ups, Fortune 500’s, and global nonprofits. Previously, he was Director, External Relations at the Fritz Institute, where he oversaw strategic alliances, communications, and fundraising. Prior to that, he served at Population Services International (PSI), where he brought together global private and public health partners to launch an innovative web-based medical training program for Zimbabwe’s physicians and nurses.
Steve holds a MPA with an emphasis on organizational psychology and conflict management from University of Washington, Seattle, and a BA in Psychology and Asian Studies from Washington University, St. Louis.
Tim Lomas, Ph.D.
Positive Experiential Cartography: Mapping wellbeing through the analysis of untranslatable words
However, far from being problematic, such words can be very useful from a psychological perspective. In particular, it can be argued that such words denote ‘regions’ of the experiential world that a given language (e.g., English) has for some reason overlooked or not charted in any particular detail. Consequently, by engaging with such words, our understanding and appreciation of the world may be enriched accordingly. Tim recently conducted an analysis of 2016 such words, which he published this year in the Journal of Positive Psychology – [Lomas, T. (2016). Towards a positive cross-cultural lexicography: Enriching our emotional landscape through 216 ‘untranslatable’ words pertaining to wellbeing. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 11(5), 546-558] – with the aim of creating a positive cross-cultural ‘lexicography. This presentation builds on this work by advancing a new theory regarding the significance and value of such words, namely that these can help positive psychology refine and augment its conceptual ‘map’ of wellbeing.
New findings in the science of character: What you need to know about the latest science and practice of character strengths
The Next Generation of Measurement for the VIA Classification of Strengths and Virtues
Positive affect interventions to help people cope with health-related stress: Progress, promise, and lessons learned.
Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D.
From Research to Practice: The Application of Character Strengths
At VIA, Ryan develops (or co-develops) VIA’s courses, reports, and programs, and helps professionals around the globe, across disciplines, apply character strengths, personally and professionally. He’s published over 50 peer-reviewed or invited articles on character strengths and related topics. Ryan is especially interested in the intersection of character strengths with resilience, intellectual/developmental disability, mindfulness, savoring, and health.
Ryan is creator of the evidence-based, Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP), the first, structured program for building character strengths. Over the last 15 years, Ryan has led hundreds of mindfulness groups for various audiences and has offered hundreds of presentations on character strengths.
On a personal level, Ryan’s signature strengths are hope, love, curiosity, fairness, honesty, and appreciation of beauty.
Leveraging Technology to Improve the Well-Being of the World
An Empirical Understanding of Appreciative Organizing as a Way to Reframe Group Development
Can we smile our way to better health? The surprising connections between positive facial expressions and wellness.
Ratios for flourishing in the Midst of Change: A Study of the P/N Ratios in Ten Organizations and Their Enterprise-Wide Change Initiatives
Character strengths and positive outcomes in different life domains.
Clinical interventions for the promotion of well-being: a cross-cultural approach.
Method: a review of different positive interventions performed with clinical populations with different cultural backgrounds will be presented, ranging from gratitude interventions (gratitude exercise versus naikan theray in eastern countries) to well-being therapy (performed in Europe, USA and Iran) and interventions to promote meaning and PTG (where the concept of trauma has different connotations in different societies). The results obtained by these strategies in different cultural settings will be examined, underlying commonalities and specificities.
Results: positive interventions are nowadays spread all over the world and are generally considered beneficial. However, depending on different cultural issues, some of them might be more effective than other in clinical populations, where the impairments of well-being are usually severe and correlated with other deficiencies.
Conclusions: the promotion of well-being in clinical populations is recommended across cultures. However, the consideration of cultural peculiarities and clinical characteristics of participants is crucial in order to achieve an optimal outcome when implementing positive interventions.
Chiara Ruini devoted all her career in studying the complex relationship between well-being and distress, particularly in the clinical settings. Almost 10 years ago she was involved in a long term research designed that provided first scientific evidence on the protective role of well-being in the face of affective disorders. Further international investigations confirmed these results. Nowadays psychiatric research has fully acknowledged the need of integrative approaches to the treatment of depression and other affective disorders, particularly in at risk populations as aging individuals. Chiara Ruini provided seminal work in implementing integrative psychotherapeutic approaches (Well-being therapy) for the promotion of psychological well-being in clinical populations. She has further extended this field of research by extending well-being therapy to the prevention of psychological distress in vulnerable populations (adolescents, young adults and aging individuals). These projects followed a scientific validation procedure (randomized controlled trials) and received international attention. Thanks to these pivotal work and expertise in well-being, Chiara Ruini was recently involved in two international research projects (one funded by the European Commission and the other by the University of Wisconsin, USA) aimed at promoting well-being in older populations living in the community (the latter) and fostering the role of well-being inside mental health research in Europe (the former).
New Developments on a Theory of Passion
Professor Robert J. Vallerand is Full Professor of Social Psychology and Director of the Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Comportement Social at the Université du Québec à Montréal where he holds a Canada Research Chair in Motivational Processes and Optimal Functioning. He is also a Fellow at the Australian Catholic University. Bob has published 7 books and well over 300 scientific articles and book chapters, mainly on motivational processes. Over 20 of his former students are university professors across Canada and Europe. He has served as President of the Quebec Society for Research in Psychology, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). Bob has been elected a Fellow of over a dozen learned societies including the American Psychological Association (APA, as well as Fellow of Divisions 8, 9, 15, 20, and 47), the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the Society for Social Psychology and Personality Psychology (SPSP), and several others. He has also received the Donald O. Hebb Career Award from the Canadian Psychological Association for his contribution to the science of psychology, as well as the Sport Science Award from the International Olympic Committee. His latest book is The Psychology of Passion (2015) with Oxford University Press.
Know Your Happiness: Effects of using the Happiness Indicator
Ruut Veenhoven (1942) studied sociology. He is also accredited in social psychology and social-sexology. Veenhoven is emeritus professor of ‘social conditions for human happiness’ at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where he is currently involved in the Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization. Veenhoven is also a special professor at North-West University in South Africa, where he is involved in the Optentia research program. He is director of the World Database of Happiness and founding editor of the Journal of Happiness Studies.
Lea Waters, Ph.D.
Strength-based parenting: The why and the how
Lea has affiliate positions with Cambridge University and University of Michigan. She has been listed in the Marques ‘Who’s Who in the World’ since 2009. In 2015, she was listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence by the Financial Review and Westpac Bank. She is on the Board of South Australian Health and Medical Research institute, is an IPPA Advisor to the Work and Organizations Divisions of IPPA and is the Ambassador for the Positive Education Schools Association.
She has published over 90 peer reviewed scientific journal articles and book chapters and has been a Key Note or invited pre-conference speaker at the International Positive Education’s World Congress, the Canadian Positive Psychology Association’s National Conference, the International Positive Psychology Association’s World Congress, the Mexican National Conference on the Science of Happiness, the Australian National Positive Psychology conference and the New Zealand Positive Psychology Association’s National Conference.
She been awarded academic prizes for research excellence by the American Academy of Management and has been awarded International and National Teaching Awards including the Management Educator of the Year by the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management and two National Teaching Excellence Awards from the Australian Government.
Her ‘Positive Detective’ program for schools is being used in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, Finland, Ghana, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.
Her TEDx talk focuses on how we can use social media in positive ways.
Her book ‘The Strength Switch: how the new science of strength-based parenting can help your child and your teen to flourish’ (Penguin Press) will be published mid-year in 2017.
Jamil Zaki, Ph.D.
Dr. Zaki received his BA in cognitive neuroscience from Boston University and his PhD in psychology from Columbia University, and conducted postdoctoral research at the Harvard Center for Brain Science. He has received research and teaching awards from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the National Science Foundation, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the Society for Neuroscience, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, Autism Speaks, Harvard University, and Stanford University. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Zaki is active in outreach and public communication of science, and founded the science communication platform The People’s Science (www.thepeoplesscience.org).