Designing Positive Psychology

Taking Stock and Moving Forward

Positive psychology exploded into public consciousness 10 years ago and has continued to capture attention around the world ever since. The movement promised to study positive human nature, using only the most rigorous scientific tools and theories. How well has this promise been fulfilled? This book evaluates the first decade of this fledgling field of study from the perspective of nearly every leading researcher in the field.

Scholars in the areas of social, personality, clinical, biological, emotional, and applied psychology provide honest, critical evaluations of the flaws and untapped potential of their fields of study. The contributors design the optimal future of positive psychology by addressing gaps, biases, and methodological limitations, and exploring exciting new questions.

Praise for Designing Positive Psychology

"As positive psychology enters its second decade as a formally-christened perspective, it is important to take stock and also to plan ahead. The present volume accordingly deserves a place on the bookshelf (and desk) of everyone concerned with the scientific study of what makes life worth living."
- Christopher Peterson, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Author of A Primer in Positive Psychology

"One of the most important books to appear in positive psychology, Designing Positive Psychology offers thoughtful presentations of what we have learned so far, the limits of our knowledge, and where we need to go next in the field. Anyone who wants to be a master of the science of positive psychology must read this authoritative, up-to-date, and thorough volume."
- Ed Diener, Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Author of Happiness

"I couldn't put this book down! The chapters demonstrate a rare uniformity of excellence - replete with rigorous review and critique of theory, empirical research, thoughtful commentary, and provocative suggestions. After a decade of being described as an 'emerging' field,' positive psychology is maturing and coming into its own. This important volume offers an unparalleled glimpse into state-of-the-art research, theory, and applications in positive psychology - from past, present, and future. This fantastic book should be required reading for anyone - researchers and laypeople alike - interested in flourishing individuals, institutions, and societies." 
- Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor of Psychology, Author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want

What does Designing Positive Psychology have to offer?


1. Positive Psychology: Where Did It Come From, Where Is It Going?
Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi & Jeanne Nakamura

2. Challenges, Pitfalls, and Aspirations for Positive Psychology
Todd B. Kashdan & Michael F. Steger


3. Character and Personality: Connections Between Positive Psychology and Personality Psychology
Erik E. Noftle, Sarah A. Schnitker & Richard W. Robins

4. Personality Science and the Northern Tilt: As Positive as Possible Under the Circumstances
Brian R. Little

5. Personality Traits and the Potential of Positive Psychology
Robert R. McCrae

6. Why Gratitude Enhances Well-Being: What We Know, What We Need to Know
Robert A. Emmons & Anjali Mishra


7. The Role of Hypo-egoic Self-processes in Optimal Functioning and Subjective Well-Being
Mark R. Leary & Jennifer Guadagno

8. Finding Positive Value in Human Consciousness: Conscious Thought Serves Participation in Society and Culture
E. J. Masicampo & Roy F. Baumeister

9. Experiential Processing and the Integration of Light and Dark Sides of the Human Psyche
Kirk Warren Brown & Melissa Holt

10. The Positive Side of Close Relationships
Shelly L. Gable & Courtney Gosnell

11. Positive Psychology as a Force for Social Change
Robert Biswas-Diener, P. Alex Linley, Reena Govindji & Linda Woolston

12. Positive Relationship Science: A New Frontier for Positive Psychology?
Nathaniel M. Lambert, Frank D. Fincham, A. Marlea Gwinn, & Christine A. Ajayi


13. The Future of Emotions Research within Positive Psychology
Sara B. Algoe, Barbara L. Fredrickson, & Sy-Miin Chow

14. A Task-Focused Mind is a Happy and Productive Mind: A Processing Perspective
Michael D. Robinson & Maya Tamir

15. To Celebrate Positive Psychology and Extend Its Horizons
Gordon Bermant, Charu Talwar, & Paul Rozin

16. The Positive Psychology of Positive Emotions: An Avuncular View
Shigehiro Oishi & Jaime Kurtz


17. The Primary Process Affects in Human Development, Happiness, and Thriving
Jaak Panksepp

18. Beyond Pleasure and Pain? Emotion Regulation and Positive Psychology
Maya Tamir & James J. Gross

19. Positive Psychophysiology:  The Body and Self-Regulation
Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Timothy W. Smith, & Tory A. Eisenlohr-Moul

20. Positive Psychological States and Biological Processes
Carissa A. Low, Julienne E. Bower, Judith T. Moskowitz, & Elissa S. Epel


21. The Dog Woman, Addie Bundren, and the Ninth Circle of Hell: Positive Psychology Should Be More Open to the Negative
Jennifer L. Hames & Thomas E. Joiner, Jr.

22. Meaning and Growth within Positive Psychology: Towards a More Complete Understanding
Crystal L. Park

23. Mindfulness and Positive Psychological Functioning
Ruth A. Baer & Emily L. B. Lykins


24. Coaching and Positive Psychology
Anthony M Grant & Michael J Cavanagh

25. Positive Psychological Capital in the Workplace: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go
Carolyn M. Youssef & Fred Luthans

26. Organizational Applications of Positive Psychology: Taking Stock and a Research / Practice Roadmap for the Future
P. Alex Linley, Nicky Garcea (nee Page), Susan Harrington, Emma Trenier & Gurpal Minhas

27. Greater Happiness For A Greater Number: Is that possible? If so how?
Ruut Veenhoven

28. Place and Well-Being
Richard Florida & Peter J. Rentfrew


29. Are We Where Yet? What Happened on the Way to the Demise of Positive Psychology
Laura A. King
30. Positive Psychology in Historical and Philosophical Perspective: Predicting Its Future from the Past
Dean Keith Simonton

31. What's Positive about Positive Psychology? Reducing Value-Bias and Enhancing Integration within the Field
Kennon M. Sheldon


I offer workshops and keynotes for business organizations, government, professional communities, continuing education for various disciplines, and the general public. With cutting-edge knowledge and humor, I offer practical suggestions for how people and organizations can flourish.



My books Curious? and The Upside of Your Dark Side offer the new message that the greatest opportunities for joy and personal growth do not happen when searching for happiness, certainty, or safety. When we acknowledge negative emotions and impulses, and use them wisely, and are open to new experiences, we attain greater success and become a better person.



In my Well-Being Laboratory, we conduct research to better understand strength use and development, social relationships, optimal performance, happiness, meaning and purpose in life, resilience, emotions and their regulation, and stress with a focus on how to apply this knowledge to better people's lives.