Discuss and Evaluate Some Fundamental Assumptions of Positive Psychology.
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DISCUSS AND EVALUATE SOME FUNDAMENTAL ASSUMPTIONS OF POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY In previous years psychology has tended to focus much of its attention on the understanding and repairing of negative aspects of human nature, for instance depression and prejudice. In doing this it has neglected the finer qualities of life. Positive psychology is concerned with emphasising factors that contribute to happiness and well being, rather than trying to treat deficit and pathology. This assignment aims to highlight some of the fundamental assumptions of positive psychology, whilst at the same time addressing any major criticisms. A key figure in the positive psychology movement is Martin Seligman. Seligman Believes that modern psychology has been so preoccupied with relieving any factors that may make life miserable, that it has forgotten about those that produce a more enjoyable existence. According to him, social sciences in particular, view human strengths and virtues as mere fantasy, whilst negative motivation and human flaws are viewed as authentic. As a result of this, human beings have often been disregarded as passive victims of society.
Seligman believes that in order to achieve a 'pleasant life' you must combine the positive emotions of our past, present and future The second is 'The good life,' and this involves what Seligman refers to as 'gratifications. Gratifications are activities we deeply enjoy, but unlike 'pleasures,' they are not necessarily accompanied by any raw feelings. Gratification can be achieved through identifying and developing our most fundamental strengths and virtues, for instance creativity and compassion. He believes that by "Using your strengths and virtues to obtain abundant gratification in the main realms of life," you will achieve what he refers to as 'The good life.' The final life is the 'meaningful life.' Seligman defines a 'meaningful life' as, "the use of our strengths and virtues in the service of something much larger than you are." In Seligman's view, these strengths and virtues are intrinsic to human nature. This notion is referred to as 'The dual aspect theory.'
For instance, Christopher Al Lewis believes that positive psychology is now contributing to the promotion of peace. This can be illustrated in Allport's example of 'the contact hypothesis,' which states that contact between two people will ultimately lead to reduced conflict. This hypothesis has played a major role in the Northern Ireland peace process, whereby policy makers aimed to build the rapport of the community and prevent conflict before it actually occurs. The role of positive psychology in the promotion of peace can be illustrated in the following three areas. The first being 'conflict resolution.' Positive psychology is not only relevant to the individual, it can also be applied to groups and organizations. In the last decade, prevention has moved to the forefront of psychology and has become a priority in terms of policy making, psychological practice. Due to the rise of this positive perspective, Seligman believes that principle theories in psychology no longer view the individual as a passive 'victim' of society, but rather as an active part in the decision making of their own life.
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