Raj Persaud | TEDxUniversityofBristol

The psychology of seduction
Raj Persaud
Jul 7, 2016

Psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud argues much human distress arises out relationships. But we can all become more skilled in our relationships be they in the domains of friendship, romance, work or career. Deploying the psychological principles behind seduction, the author of a new book on dysfunctional love – ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ – explains how improving how seductive you are, will also lead to benefits across many other aspects of your life, beyond just romance.

Michael Steger: What Makes Life Meaningful?

What Makes Life Meaningful: Michael Steger at TEDxCSU
March 14, 2013

Michael F. Steger is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University. He has spent more than a decade researching people’s ability to find meaning in their lives and the benefits of living a meaningful life. In his talk, he asks the question “What Makes Life Meaningful?” and will share what psychological science can tell us about the answer. He is the co-editor of ‘Designing Positive Psychology’ and the forthcoming ‘Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace.’



…brings the good things of others to completion

ConfuciusThe Science of Happiness
Berkeley University of California
Week 1 > Philosophical and Spiritual Views on Happiness

Confucius, 2500 years ago
What does it mean to be happy? To lead a virtuous life?

an illustrative quote that really gets to the heart of the philosophy of Confucius and jen: A person of jen or humanity who finds happiness and brings it to others, brings good of others to completion and does not bring the bad in others to completion.

Happiness is some sense has an outward orientation in enhancing the welfare of others.

The Dalai Lama is part of a broader tradition in Buddhism that many of you have probably heard about where they talk about the state of peacefulness and contentedness and happiness, sometimes called nirvana.

The pathway to the state of happiness or nirvana really starts from the recognition, the first noble truth, that there are a lot of difficulties in life, there is a lot of suffering.

The second noble truth is that we suffer because of illusions, because of grasping for things that might not bring us happiness because of certain types of ignorance, that we find nirvana and happiness and peacefulness when we detach from these clinging tendencies and grasping.

practical recommendations in Buddhist philosophy that get us to this state of detachment or nirvana. Things like practicing equanimity and calmness or things like kind speech

Lao Tzu, the great Chinese philosopher, and his influential book, Tao Te Ching.
the Taoist tradition: happiness is often paradoxical. The meaning of life may not be necessarily grasped by your rational mind, you have to experience it, let it unfold.

The Eastern mindset, that you might find in China for example or Japan, is a little oriented more towards happiness as relational as connection, community, or duty.



Happiness really takes work

The Science of Happiness
Berkeley University of California
Week 1 > Welcome to the Course!

Happiness really takes work, and I really hope that you work as hard at happiness as you do at cooking a good meal or an exercise regime.
You know, some of us are born with the right genetic makeup and happiness comes easy, but for most of us, we really need tools and practices to pursue happiness.

Course Outline
Avoid toxic thoughts that impede us in our pursuit of happiness. Things like
perfectionism, how do we can overcome this toxic thoughts?

Having a Bad Week?

Having a Bad Week? Tricks for Turning It Around
By Sue Shellenbarger
April 26, 2016

magical thinking

Many people, however, have a tendency to see cause-and-effect relationships where there are none. They might interpret neutral events as negative or fall back on a magical belief, such as, “I’m being punished by the universe.”

People who see themselves as lucky might also engage in counterfactual thinking of a different sort. They imagine worse things that might have happened but didn’t, and feel grateful, according to an oft-cited study of 400 people years ago by British researcher Richard Wiseman.

It wasn’t clear which condition–feeling unlucky or lacking mental skills–caused the other, but researchers wrote the relationship might go both ways.

Another helpful technique is mental time travel, Dr. Risen says. Imagine yourself in the future; think about how, after the misfortune is over, you’ll have a good story to tell.

Superstitious rituals, such as knocking on wood, can actually help, by instilling positive expectations. Some rituals encompass a phenomenon called embodied cognition, wherein a person’s thinking is shaped by his or her physical movements. The pushing-away motion involved in knocking on wood …

positive thinking
think about things you value: network of friends and family

8 Ways You Can Survive — And Thrive

8 Ways You Can Survive — And Thrive In — Midlife
March 18, 2016

After two years of research and more than 400 interviews about midlife, former NPR reporter Barb Bradley Hagerty received dozens of insights about how to live well in the middle years. We’ve distilled them here, with a little context. And, by the way, these ideas work well for people on both sides of the midlife divide.




Seeing what we expect to see

the psychological phenomenon of “seeing what we expect to see.” … if you don’t see the value of moments of positive connection, then you are more likely to overlook opportunities to cultivate them, even if those opportunities are right in front of you.

Positive Psychology
Coursera. March 2016
The University of North Carolina at Chapell Hill

Positive psychology

Scholarly References:

  • Algoe, S. B. (2012). Find, remind, and bind: The functions of gratitude in everyday relationships.
    Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6 (6), 455-469.
  • Algoe, S. B., Fredrickson, B. L.. (2013). The social functions of the emotion of gratitude via expression.
    Emotion, 13, 605-609.
  • Barrett, L. F. (2012). Emotions are real.
    Emotion, 12 (3), 413-429.
  • Catalino, L. I., Fredrickson, B. L. (2014). Prioritizing positivity: An effective approach to pursuing happiness? Emotion, 14, 1155-1161.
  • Catalino, L. I., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2011). A Tuesday in the life of a flourisher: The role of positive emotional reactivity in optimal mental health.
    Emotion, 11, 938-950.
  • Cole, S. W. (2013). Social regulation of human gene expression: Mechanisms and implications for public health.
    American Journal of Public Health, 103(S1), S84-S92.
  • Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Positive emotions broaden and build.
    Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 1-53.
  • Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Updated thinking on the positivity ratio.
    American Psychologist, 68, 814-822.
  • Fredrickson, B. L., et al. (2013).
    A functional genomic perspective on human well-being.
    PNAS, 110, 13684-13689.
  • Fredrickson, B. L., & Losada, M. (2005). Positive emotions and the complex dynamics of human flourishing.
    American Psychologist, 60, 678-686. [Corrected in 2013: “Correction to Fredrickson and Losada (2005)” American Psychologist, 68, 822.]
  • Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). What good are positive emotions?
    Review of General Psychology, 2, 300-319.
  • Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions.
    American Psychologist, 56, 218-226.
  • Fredrickson, B. L., & Branigan, C. (2005). Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action repertoires.
    Cognition & Emotion, 19(3), 313-332.
  • Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources.
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1045-1062.
  • Fredrickson, B. L., & Levenson, R. W. (1998). Positive emotions speed recovery from the cardiovascular sequelae of negative emotions.
    Cognition and Emotion, 12(2), 191-220.
  • Fredrickson, B. L., Mancuso, R. A., Branigan, C., & Tugade, M. M. (2000).
    The undoing effect of positive emotions. Motivation and Emotion, 24(4), 237-258.
  • Fredrickson, B. L., Tugade, M. M., Waugh, C. E., & Larkin, G. R. (2003). What good are positive emotions in crises? A prospective study of resilience and emotions following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001.
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 365-376.
  • Garland, E. L., Fredrickson, B. L., Kring, A. M., Johnson, D. P., Meyer, P. S., & Penn, D. L. (2010). Upward spirals of positive emotions counter downward spirals of negativity: Insights from the broaden-and-build theory and affective neuroscience on the treatment of emotion dysfunctions and deficits in psychopathology.
    Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 849-864.
  • George, J. M. (1995). Leader positive mood and group performance: The case of customer service.
    Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25, 778-794.
  • Gervais, M., & Wilson, D. S. (2005). The Evolution and functions of laughter and humor: A synthetic approach.
    The Quarterly Review of Biology, 80(4), 395-430.
  • Gross, M. M., Crane, E. A., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2012). Effort-shape and kinematic assessment of bodily expression of emotion during gait.
    Human Movement Science, 31, 202-212.
  • Gruber, J., Mauss, I. B., & Tamir, M. (2011). A dark side of happiness? How, when, and why happiness is not always good.
    Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 222-233.
  • Gruber, J. (2011). Can feeling too good be bad?: Positive Emotion Persistence (PEP) in bipolar disorder.
    Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 217-221.
  • Han, S. Lerner, J. S., & Keltner, D. (2007). Feelings and consumer decision making: The appraisal-tendency framework.
    Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17, 158-168.
  • Hasson, U. (2010). I can make your brain look like mine.
    Harvard Business Review, 88(12), 32-33.
  • Hegi, K. E. & Bergner, R. M. (2010). What is love? An empirically-based essentialist account.
    Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27, 620-636.
  • Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., & Layton, J. B. (2010).
    Social relationships and mortality risk: A meta-analytic review.
    PLoS Medicine, 7 (7), e1000316. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316
  • Kok, B. E., Waugh, C. E., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Meditation and health: The search for mechanisms of action.
    Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7, 27-39.
  • Kok, B. E., … Fredrickson, B. L. (2013).
    How positive emotions build physical health: Perceived positive social connections account for the upward spiral between positive emotions and vagal tone. Psychological Science, 24, 1123-1132.
  • Kok, B. E. & Fredrickson, B. L. (2010).
    Upward spirals of the heart: Autonomic flexibility, as indexed by vagal tone, reciprocally and prospectively predicts positive emotions and social connectedness. Biological Psychology, 85, 432-436. DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2010.09.005
  • Lindquist, K. A. & Barrett, L. F. (2008). Constructing emotion: The experience of fear as a conceptual act.
    Psychological Science, 19 (9), 898-903.
  • Maringer, M., et al. (2011).
    Beyond smile dynamics: Mimicry and beliefs in judgments of smiles.
    Emotion, 11(1), 181-187.
  • Mauss, I. B., et al. (2011).
    Can seeking happiness make people unhappy? Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness.
    Emotion, 11, 807-815.
  • Mauss, I. B., et al. (2012).
    The pursuit of happiness can be lonely.
    Emotion, 12, 908-912.
  • Moskowitz, J. T., & Saslow, L. R. (2013).
    Health and psychology: The importance of positive affect.
    In M. M. Tugade, M. N. Shiota, & L. D. Kirby (Eds.) Handbook of Positive Emotions (pp. 413-431). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Niedenthal, P. M., et al. (2010). The Simulation of Smiles (SIMS) model: Embodied simulation and the meaning of facial expression. The Behavioral and brain sciences, 33(6), 417-433.
  • Ong, A. D., Bergeman, C. S., Bisconti, T. L., & Wallace, K. A. (2006). Psychological resilience, positive emotions, and successful adaptation to stress in later life.
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(4), 730-749.
  • Rego, A., Sousa, F., Marques, C., & Cunha, M. P. (2012). Optimism predicting employees’ creativity: The mediating role of positive affect and the positivity ratio. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 21(2), 244-270.
  • Reis, H., Clark, M. S., & Holmes, J. G. (2004). Perceived partner responsiveness as an organizing construct in the study of intimacy and closeness.
    In D. J. Masheck & A. P. Aron (Eds.) Handbook of Closeness and Intimacy (pp. 201-225). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Schmitz, T. W., De Rosa, E., & Anderson, A. K. (2009). Opposing influences of affective state valence on visual cortical encoding.
    Journal of Neuroscience, 29(22), 7199-7207.
  • Sy, T., Cote, S., & Saavedra, R. (2005). The contagious leader: Impact of the leader’s mood on the mood of group members, group affective tone, and group processes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90 (2), 295-305.
  • Thayer, J. F. & Lane, R. D. (2007).
    The role of vagal function in the risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality. Biological Psychology, 74, 224-242.
  • Tugade, M. M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). Resilient individuals use positive emotions to bounce back from negative emotional experiences.
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(2), 320-333.
  • Vacharkulksemsek, T. & Fredrickson, B. L. (2012). Strangers in sync: Achieving embodied rapport through shared movements.
    Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 399-402.
  • Vallerand, R. J. (2010). On passion for life activities: The Dualistic Model of Passion. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 97-193.
  • Wadlinger, H. A., & Isaacowitz, D. M. (2006). Positive mood broadens visual attention to positive stimuli. Motivation and Emotion, 30(1), 87-99.
  • Waugh, C. E. & Fredrickson, B. L. (2006). Nice to know you: Positive emotions, self-other overlap, and complex understanding in the formation of new relationships.
    Journal of Positive Psychology, 1, 93-106.
  • Waugh, C. E., Wager, T. D., Fredrickson, B. L., Noll, D. C., Taylor, S. F. (2008). The neural correlates of trait resilience when anticipating and recovering from threat. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 3, 322-332

Suggested Reading:

  • Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity. New York: Three Rivers Press.
  • Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Love 2.0. New York: Plume.
  • http://PositivityResonance.com

Also Recommended:

  • Barrett, L. F. (2016). How Emotions are Made: The New Science of the Mind and Brain. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008/1990) Flow. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
  • Hanson, R. (2013). Hardwiring Happiness. New York: Harmony.
  • Keltner, D., Oatley, K., & Jenkins, J. M. (2013). Understanding Emotions, 3rd Edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • Lyubomirsky, S. (2013) The Myths of Happiness.
    New York: Penguin
  • Peterson, C. (2006). A Primer in Positive Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Seligman, M. E. P. (2012). Flourish.
    New York: Atria Books.
  • Salzberg, S. (2010). Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation.
    New York: Workman.
  • Salzberg, S. (2013). Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace.
    New York: Workman.
  • International Positive Psychology Association: http://www.ippanetwork.org
  • Greater Good Science Center: http://www.greatergood.berkeley.edu
  • Dr. Fredrickson’s Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory (a.k.a., PEP Lab): http://www.PositiveEmotions.org


Festival of Positive Education
Dallas, July 2016


May 2009