Positive Psychology

Module code: C8892
Level 6
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture
Assessment modes: Seen examination, Coursework

Positive Psychology examines the psychology of strength and virtue, with a focus on positive subjective experience (such as happiness and optimism), positive individual traits (such as the capacity for love) and positive institutions.

The positive psychology movement emerged at the beginning of this century as a deliberate attempt to counterbalance what its protagonists perceived to be a distortion in the field arising from prevailing concerns in psychology with pathology and dysfunction. The goal was to rebalance the field.

In this module we will explore topics within the field of positive psychology, such as happiness, optimism, mindfulness, and love, and do so with a critical eye.

The aim will be to examine the evidence for the claims made in each case. It will not be possible to present a comprehensive coverage of the area, but we will cover positive emotions, positive thinking, the positive self, positive relationships, and positive health.

Our choice of topics will naturally be selective but you should, through your studies on the course, acquire an informed understanding of the principal strengths and weaknesses of this area of research.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the historical background and conceptual basis of Positive Psychology.
  • Communicate clearly relevant Positive Psychology concepts and findings.
  • Adopt a critical stance when evaluating evidence for claims about Positive Psychology in general and the topics taught in particular.
  • Synthesise the available empirical evidence to develop and advance arguments and viewpoints relevant to the topic.