Awesome: E Pluribus Unum

Awesome: E Pluribus Unum

The word "awesome" remains valuable when used carefully.

Mary Edwards Walker: Above and Beyond

One woman has been awarded the Medal of Honor: Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919).

Smiling and Stress

Smiling does not reduce stress in the moment, but it speeds recovery when a stressful experience is over.


Catchphrases play a positive role in our lives of young people. They allow terse communication. They are amusing. They make one feel happy.

Hail to Rolling Luggage

August 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of the invention of rolling luggage, aka rollaboards.

Busting Myths about Positive Psychology

To some degree, myths about psychology disappear when students are exposed to other (“correct”) ideas. But it may be more helpful to call out the myths explicitly and refute them.

For Whom the Bell Holds

A recent article by Ernest O’Boyle and Herman Aguinus (2012) challenges the ubiquity of the bell-shaped curve as a description of human performance. These researchers looked at a large variety of objective performance measures from such domains as entertainment, science, politics, and sports and found that their distributions rarely fit a bell curve.

A Quiet Positive Psychology

I just finished reading a terrific book written by Susan Cain (2012), who also writes blog entries for Psychology Today.

Social Class and Unethical Behavior

“Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior.” This is the title of a research report by Paul Piff and colleagues (2012) published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. My attention was piqued.

The “So What” of Humility

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." - Rick Warren My colleagues and I have studied strengths of character for more than a decade (Park & Peterson, 2010; Peterson and Seligman, 2004). The most important conclusion from our work is that character is plural.

The Family Meal

I recently prepared a lecture on parenting from a positive psychology perspective. Although psychologists have had much to say about parenting, often the focus has been on eliminating undesirable actions on the part of kids, like talking back, tantrums, and tattling. These behaviors are of course annoying, but what about encouraging desirable actions?

US Cities: Sinful and Saintly

"What I like about cities is that everything is king size, the beauty and the ugliness." - Joseph Brodsky. A recent Internet article by Jordan Rane (2012) caught my eye because it resonated with my interest in psychological variations across United States (US) cities.

What's Wrong With Red Hair?

"Part of the problem with redheads is that there aren't enough of them. They make up just two percent of the population. So they're pretty extraordinary. Redheads are too numerous to be ignored, too rare to be accepted." - Grant McCracken

Gestures as Self-Fulfilling Prophecies, Negative and Positive

I watched the recent 46th NFL Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Giants but sooner rather than later changed channels during the halftime show, which featured Madonna. As a result, I missed seeing live the beginning of the mini-scandal that ensued when one of her backup singers, M.I.A., made an obscene gesture to the viewing audience.

Happy Family Day!

I love Canadians, and I love Canada. Here is just one of many reasons. On the third Monday of February, Family Day is observed in the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. Family Day celebrates the importance of families and family life to people and their communities.

Other People Matter: From Birth to Death

Let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. —1 John 4:7

On the Virtue of Compromise

The word compromise is used in two different senses, one typically positive and the other typically negative. The good sense of compromise is finding a common ground with another person.The bad sense is being untrue to your core values and beliefs.

Are We as Bad as the Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done?

Politicians and everyday people are certainly capable of doing bad things, and most of us do a few of these during our lives. The issue I would like to raise is whether it makes sense to judge a person solely on the basis of the worst thing he or she has ever done.

Life Satisfaction in the Wake of Disability

One of the parable studies in positive psychology is an investigation reported some years ago by Phillip Brickman, Dan Coates, and Ronnie Janoff-Bulman (1978). These psychologists were then at Northwestern University, and the state of Illinois had just started to run a lottery.