Research from the Humanities and Human Flourishing Team

 
 
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The role of the arts and humanities in human flourishing: A conceptual model

Tay, L., Pawelski, J. O., & Keith, M. G. (2017). The role of the arts and humanities in human flourishing: A conceptual model. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1-11. doi:10.1080/17439760.2017.1279207

There is much debate on the value of the arts and humanities in our society. Each side provides strong arguments, but there has been little empirical research to draw on. A key reason for the lack of scientific evidence is the absence of a conceptual model on which to base investigations of the ways the arts and the humanities might contribute to human flourishing. To address this, we present a model to demarcate the domain of the arts and humanities by means of an extensional definition (e.g. majors, disciplines, and occupations) integrated with a functional analysis (i.e. modes of engagement and activities of involvement). We suggest immersion, embeddedness, socialisation, and reflectiveness as mechanisms by which the arts and humanities may enhance various forms of human flourishing. We conclude with implications of the model and ideas for future research to investigate the effects of the arts and humanities on human flourishing.

 
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Defining the ‘positive’ in positive psychology: Part I. A descriptive analysis

Pawelski, J. O. (2016). Defining the ‘positive’ in positive psychology: Part I. A descriptive analysis. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 11(4), 339-356. doi:10.1080/17439760.2015.1137627

Positive psychology has made a remarkable impact on psychological research and practice in recent years. Significant further work is needed, however, to clarify its core concepts. In a two-part project, the author presents the first systematic analysis of the most basic concept in positive psychology: the ‘positive’. Part I, presented here, consists of a descriptive analysis. Based on a close reading of founding documents in positive psychology, this analysis reveals six discrete meanings of the positive in these texts, then probes the considerable tensions that arise within and among them and lead to unfortunate confusions in theory, research, and practice. In Part II, the author draws various distinctions to help relieve these tensions and offers a normative definition of the positive, with the goals of providing direction for inquiry and practice and encouraging further analysis of this and other basic concepts in positive psychology.

 
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Defining the ‘positive’ in positive psychology: Part II. A normative analysis

Pawelski, J. O. (2016). Defining the ‘positive’ in positive psychology: Part II. A normative analysis. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 11(4), 357-365. doi:10.1080/17439760.2015.1137628

Positive psychology has made a remarkable impact on psychological research and practice in recent years. Significant further work is needed, however, to clarify its core concepts. In a two-part project, the author presents the first systematic analysis of the most basic concept in positive psychology: the ‘positive’. Part I consists of a descriptive analysis. Based on a close reading of founding documents in positive psychology, this analysis reveals six discrete meanings of the positive in these texts, then probes the considerable tensions that arise within and among them and lead to unfortunate confusions in theory, research, and practice. In Part II, presented here, the author draws various distinctions to help relieve these tensions and offers a normative definition of the positive, with the goals of providing direction for inquiry and practice and encouraging further analysis of this and other basic concepts in positive psychology.