Week 1 Notes

UCD Access and Lifelong Learning Centre
Location of Course: Science Centre-Hub, Belfield Campus
Room: H0.12 Ground Floor, O’Brien Centre for Science 7pm – 9pm
Lecturer: Dr Martina Carroll

  1. Introductions
  2. Introducing the Course

What is Positive Psychology?
The Work of Martin Seligman
Connections between Positive Psychology and Everyday Life
Suggestions of Video/ books relating to Positive Psychology

This Video by Psychologist Martin Seligman tells the story of Positive Psychology. His books played an important role in promoting the idea of a Positive Psychology, but it’s not the full story. I recommend watching his video on PERMA theory. I was lucky to get a ticket to hear him talk in Trinity College some time ago. I really enjoyed his presentation but I’ll leave it up to you whether you would like to read his books. They’re easy to find but for now here’s a link to his Youtube video.

Flourishing by Martin Seligman. This book may be of interest to anyone who would like to find out more about Martin Seligman and his research and his ideas about Positive Psychology.

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt is a great read for those who enjoy a good book, it’s not too academic but for some it may be a heavy read.

Positive Psychology: Theory, Research and Applications by Kate Hefferon & Ilona Boniwell

This is a text book on Positive Psychology, very readable, not too big and a great place to start if you are interested in finding a text book on the topic. It’s nicely laid out and covers lots of interesting topics like Resilience and Optimism.
Introduction to the Course –
What is Positive Psychology?
A branch of scientific Psychology/ Originally about a science of happiness – 1990s
Now more focused on well-being and flourishing

-: It turns out that being happy, in the sense of pleasant experiences and emotions, is less important for some people than for others. The Psychology research over the past few decades has led to a more sophisticated understanding of human happiness.

PERMA Theory by Martin Seligman
The Elements of Wellbeing and Flourishing
Positive Emotion/ Engagement/Relationships/Meaning/Accomplishments

Influences on Positive Psychology, apart from Freud and including the Study of normal behaviour and the mind, includes great writers like Carl Jung/ Victor Frankl/ Carl Rogers/ Jonathan Haidt. Contemporary writers like Seligman and Haidt explore concepts such as Meaning, Love, Work, and Accomplishment, all of which belong within the subject matter of Positive Psychology. Positive ideas within the wider literature of Psychology, about the full range of human emotions and experiences, are also relevant to this course.

Last year I started writing a Psychology book, largely influenced by my courses in UCD, my work in community and the arts, and my collaborative work with artists. Recently I have been diverted away from the book to work on a Podcast. The Podcast is about scientific psychology and everyday life, so quite relevant to this course. I have a separate handout listing the topics for this course and also the topics for the Podcast.

Optional Homework: In the past many students enjoyed having homework from week to week, although not compulsory of course. Each week, I will post questions relating to the course topic, plus a topic from the Podcast. If you like, you can write a short piece that you can read in class. Alternatively you might simply think about the topic. However, you should, of course, feel free to do nothing outside the class.

In class, each student will have an equal opportunity to join in regardless.
Topics for Feb 5th:
Next week’s topic is Positive Emotions. The first topic on the Podcast-list is ‘Oppression’.
What are emotions? Which emotions are positive?
Can emotions, that are typically regarded to be negative, ever be positive?
What is Freedom? What does Freedom mean to you?

My Blog: where you’ll find course Notes and other resources.
Email: martina.carroll@ucd.ie