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Message from Congress Chair

Barbara Fredrickson, PhDThe 5th World Congress promises to be the premier event to build collaborations and share progress in the science of positive psychology and its evidence-based practice. I’m especially looking forward to our new Founder’s Symposia and our distinguished Plenary speakers, each of whom is advancing the leading edge of science. Plus, we’ll have countless opportunities to connect, grow, and find meaning.

I look forward to seeing you in Montréal!

Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D.
Kenan Distinguished Professor
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
President, International Positive Psychology Association
Congress Chair, 5th World Congress on Positive Psychology


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Founders’ Symposia

New for the Fifth World Congress is a Presidential Symposium along with a series of Founders’ 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

Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D.

Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman, Ph.D.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D.

David Cooperrider

David Cooperrider, Ph.D.

Presidential Symposium

Lahnna Catalino, Ph.D.

Prioritizing Positivity

People differ in the extent to which they arrange their daily lives to include pleasant experiences, an individual difference I label prioritizing positivity.  I will discuss the measurement of prioritizing positivity, its connection to emotional well-being, and the effects of inducing prioritizing positivity.
Lahnna Catalino is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Scripps College. She earned PhD in Social Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Broadly speaking, her research interests are in the study of emotions, emotion regulation, well being, and health. Through surveys, experience-sampling methods, and laboratory studies, she seeks to understand effective ways people deliberately pursue happiness (i.e., positive emotions). Catalino shows that people who proactively seek out pleasant events when organizing daily life report more positive emotions and fewer depressive symptoms than people who do not. To measure this individual difference, prioritizing positivity, she developed a six-item scale. This research contributes to the current debate in affective science about whether or not the pursuit of happiness backfires.

Elise Rice, Ph.D.

Do positive spontaneous thoughts function as incentive salience?

This talk explores the relationship between positive spontaneous thoughts and incentive salience – a psychological property thought to energize approach motivation by rendering cues that are associated with prior enjoyment more likely to stand out to the individual when subsequently encountered in the environment. Building on initial evidence that positive spontaneous thoughts may co-occur with incentive salience and that both constructs mediate the effect of liking on wanting, the research discussed herein tested a stronger hypothesis: that positive spontaneous thoughts actually play an active role in amplifying approach motivation. In that experiment, 80 undergraduate participants were randomly assigned to receive false feedback (or not) meant to alter their perceptions of their spontaneous thoughts about a target physical activity. Results revealed that participants who were led to believe that their spontaneous thoughts about a target activity were especially positive planned to devote more time to that activity over the coming week than participants who received no such information about their spontaneous thoughts. Collectively, these findings suggest that positive spontaneous thoughts may play an important role in shaping approach motivation. Broader implications and future directions in the study of positive spontaneous thoughts are discussed. 
Dr. Elise Rice is a Cancer Research Training Award Postdoctoral Fellow in the Behavioral Research Program at the National Cancer Institute. In her work, Dr. Rice aims to clarify how positive emotions and automatic processes shape health behaviors with the ultimate goal of improving health and well-being. One representative line of her research explores the role of positive spontaneous thoughts in motivation; findings from that work may have implications for promoting sustainable behavior change that does not depend in large part on effortful self-control. Dr. Rice earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Patty Van Cappellen, Ph.D.

Spirituality as a path from and toward positivity

Summarize empirical research showing that positive experiences build a sense of spirituality and that in turn spirituality can be a path toward flourishing.
Patty Van Cappellen is the Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary and Behavioral Research Center at Duke University. Patty earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 2012 from the Univeristé catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She then moved to do a postdoc with Barbara Fredrickson at UNC-Chapel Hill where 3 years later she became Research Assistant Professor. She also earned a Master in Biblical Studies in 2014 from the Faculty of Theology in Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She leads the Morality, Spirituality, and Health Laboratory.
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.

Pre-Congress, Plenary, & Invited Speakers


Key Dates

  • August 1, 2016
    Call for Proposals Opens
  • September 30, 2016
    Call for Proposals Closes
  • December 2016
    Congress Registration & Housing Open
  • July 13-16, 2017
    5th World Congress on Positive Psychology


Who should attend?

1) Academic researchers, licensed psychologists, or research-practitioners

2) Consultants, educators, business owners, coaches, and other professionals

3) Students enrolled in good standing in an academic program

4) Members of the general public who are interested in learning more about positive psychology


Conference News

Earn Continuing Coach Education Credit at the Fifth World Congress

We are proud to announce that, for the very first time, it will be possible to earn continuing education credit for attending sessions at IPPA’s Fifth World Congress on Positive Psychology, through approval by the International Coach Federation (ICF). This […]

Volunteer at IPPA’s Fifth World Congress on Positive Psychology

We’re seeking volunteers for the upcoming Fifth World Congress on Positive Psychology at the Palais de Congres in Montreal! From Welcoming Ambassadors to Session Hosts, please consider giving your time and talents to help make this Congress […]

Science for Scientists Day Pre-Congress

Science for Scientists Day: Advancing the Science of Positive Psychology is a Pre-Congress event at the 5th World Congress on Positive Psychology. It will be held on Thursday, July 13, 2017 from 8:30 AM to […]


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