Positivity Resonates
Barbara Fredrickson
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina


Author of Positivity and Love 2.0, Professor Barbara Fredrickson’s most recent research offers an innovative ap-proach to understanding the multiple ways by which positive emotions promote physical health. Most known for her broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, which identifies positive emotions as key drivers of individual and collective resource building, Dr. Fredrickson’s research reveals how positive emotions alter heart health and molecular physiology. Stepping off from this work, she has more recently developed what she has called the upward spiral theory of lifestyle change. This new integrative model positions positive emotions as creating non conscious and increasing motives for wellness behavior, rooted in enduring biological changes. In this presentation, Dr. Fredrickson will describe the origins of and evidence for this new perspective on how positive emotions promote physical health. Implications for how best to promote positive lifestyle changes are illuminated.


Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D. has been advancing the science of positive emotions for more than 20 years. She is currently Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she directs the PEP Lab (www.PositiveEmotions.org). She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Her books, Positivity (2009, Crown) and Love 2.0 (2013, Penguin) have been translated into more than 20 languages. Barb’s research, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NCI, NIA, NCCAM, NIMH, NINR), reveals how your positive emotions were sculpted by the discerning chisel of Darwinian natural selection to serve as life-giving nutrients for growth. Her innovative contributions have been recognized with numerous honors, including the inaugural Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology from the American Psychological Association, the Career Trajectory Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the inaugural Christopher Peterson Gold Medal from the International Positive Psychology Association.

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 President-Elect of the International Positive Psychology Association.