See: The Positive Neuroscience Project was established in 2008 by Professor Martin E.P. Seligman, Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center, with a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation. In 2009, the project announced the Templeton Positive Neuroscience Awards competition to bring the tools of neuroscience to bear on advances in Positive Psychology. The project will grant $2.9 million in award funding to 15 new research projects at the intersection of Neuroscience and Positive Psychology.
– Virtue, strength, and positive emotion: What are the neural bases of the cognitive and affective capacities that enable virtues such as discipline, persistence, honesty, compassion, love, curiosity, social and practical intelligence, courage, creativity, and optimism?
– Exceptional abilities: What is special about the brains of exceptional individuals and what can we learn from them?
– Meaning and positive purpose: How does the brain enable individuals and groups to find meaning and achieve larger goals?
– Decisions, values, and free will: How does the brain enable decisions based on values and how can decision
–making be improved? What can neuroscience reveal about the nature of human freedom?
– Religious belief, prayer, and meditation: How do religious and spiritual practices affect neural function and behavior? Retrieved August 6, 2011 from
Cowen, E. L., & Kilmer, R. P. (2002). Positive psychology: Some plusses and some open issues. , (4), 449–460. doi:10.1002/jcop.10014. This commentary considers aspects of the recent American Psychologist Special Issue (SI) on "Positive Psychology." Strong points of this new thrust include: (a) a focal concern with insufficiencies in the current medical model in mental health; (b) a core focus on positive outcomes; and (c) the belief that such outcomes may, in the long run, be the most efficacious way of reducing psychological dysfunction. The approach's major current limitations include: (a) its relative insulation from closely related prior work in primary prevention and wellness enhancement; (b) its lack of a cohesive undergirding theoretical framework; and (c) its prime adult, cross–sectional approach, which does not sufficiently reflect key life history and developmental pathways and determinants of specific positive outcomes. The movement's wholesome future development stands to profit from careful attention to these lacunae.
The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912)
"Young people differ greatly in the degree to which they think of themselves in terms of moral beliefs and goals. This difference continues throughout life, with some people finding moral purposes to dedicate themselves to and others consigning moral concerns to a relatively marginal position in their lives. This difference may be determinative of life outcomes ranging from personal satisfaction (or "authentic happiness," as Martin Seligman calls it) to altruistic social behavior" (Damon, 2004, pp. 22–23).