Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ben’s Top 11 Positive Psychology Internet Resources

Ben’s Top 11 Positive Psychology Internet Resources
By Ben Dean, Ph.D.

1. Website for Reflective Happiness

The most interesting new website in Positive Psychology is Marty Seligman's "Reflective Happiness" site at For a nominal monthly fee, subscribers are given access to monthly exercises intended to increase happiness, question-and-answer sessions with Marty, newsletters, bookclubs and more. But most valuable, is access to Marty's own constantly evolving thinking about the field. He knows everyone in Positive Psychology and thus is always at the center of the latest thinking and research. His own thinking is always evolving as well. His highest signature strengths is his love of learning. So members of the Reflective Happiness community get to share in the benefits of knowing Marty! If you care about your own happiness and that of your clients; if you care about the white hot field of positive psychology itself, how can you not enroll in this program? This site is described in detail at the bottom of this newsletter.

2. Website for Barbara Fredrickson’s Laboratory

Barbara Fredrickson is perhaps most famous for her “broaden-and-build” theory of positive emotions. She maintains a very active lab at the University of Michigan, and it is interesting to check in periodically to read about the latest research conducted by Dr. Fredrickson and her graduate students. Many of her articles can be downloaded from the website.

3. The Positive Psychology Center Website

If you can follow only one link, start here. The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania is directed by Martin Seligman. This Center’s website provides lists of positive psychology books, information about funding opportunities and awards in positive psychology, materials for teachers of positive psychology, and links to positive psychology conferences. The webmaster maintains a Positive Psychology E-mail Directory of individuals who are doing positive psychology work. You can view this directory (or add your own name)here.

4. The Positive Psychology Listserv

This is an active listserv for anyone interested in positive psychology (not just academics). Sometimes the discussions get heated, so buckle up! To request membership in this listserv, send an e-mail to Acacia Parks ( In your e-mail request, be sure to include your full name and the e-mail to which you would like your messages sent.

5. Jonathan Haidt’s Website

You may recognize Jonathan Haidt’s name from my newsletters about strengths because I often borrow his creative ideas on building individual strengths. Dr. Haidt is a psychologist at the University of Virginia whose research focuses on morality and emotions. You can download papers written by Dr. Haidt and other members of the lab. Be sure to check out this article which wins the prize for most intriguing title: “Affect, Culture, and Morality, or Is it Wrong to Eat Your Dog?” Also be sure to note Dr. Haidt’s personal list of recommended readings.

6. The Official Site for Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman

Definitely spend an afternoon at this site if you have not already done so as this is truly a remarkable resource. After registering on the site, you can take 18 different surveys related to positive psychology. I recommend starting with the VIA Strengths Survey (if you have not already taken it) to receive feedback about your highest strengths. Also fascinating is the Approaches to Happiness Questionnaire which assesses whether you tend to pursue happiness via pleasure, engagement, or meaning. The website stores your previous scores so that you or your clients can track changes over time.

While you are poking around on, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter and check out the newsletter archives here.

7. Website of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Here is an excerpt from the Foundation’s mission statement:

Established in 1995 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a resource for people committed to spreading kindness. We provide a wide variety of materials on our website, including activity ideas, lesson plans, project plans, teacher's guide, project planning guide, publicity guide, and workplace resources on our website at – all free of charge.

While you are exploring the website, be sure to visit the discussion boards and sign up for the Kind Times Newsletter.

8. Website for Julie Norem’s The Positive Power of Negative Thinking: Using Defensive Pessimism to Harness Anxiety and Perform at Your Peak

Julie Norem is a psychologist at Wellesley College who is widely respected for her research on Defensive Pessimism, a strategy of always imagining the worst that could happen in any given situation. Although this is technically not a “positive psychology” resource, I think it provides some balance to the list and will round out your positive psychology library nicely! Be sure to take Norem’s Defensive Pessimism quiz on her website.

9. Website for Division 32 of the American Psychological Association / Humanistic Psychology

Current research in positive psychology is rooted in humanistic psychology, and much can be learned from this active division of the APA. Even if you don’t join, you can read recent newsletters online. Be sure to check out the Internet Resources listed under “Humanistic Study” on the website.

10. Ed Diener’s Website

Ed Diener, Ph.D., is a psychologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is most famous for his work on subjective well-being. You can download many of his articles directly from the website. He also provides a list of resources organized according to topic and a helpful summary page of the main findings produced by his lab.

11. Website for the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience (directed by Richard Davidson, Ph.D.)

Interested in positive emotion and the brain? Check out the webpage for the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience. Be sure to download these articles:

Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., et al. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564-570.

Davidson, R. J. (2001). Toward a biology of personality and emotion. Annals of the N.Y. Academy of Sciences, 935, 191-207.

Also, read here about Dr. Davidson’s work with the Dalai Lama!

Copyright Ben Dean Ph.D. 2004-2005. All rights reserved.
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