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Activation Synthesis, Psychology - …
"The premise of humanistic psychology was that people have a free will and make choices that influence their well-being. What also makes it very different from other perspectives in psychology is belief in the - a fundamental motivation towards growth. Rogers, the originator of the concept, describes it as:
' ... man's tendency to actualize himself, to become potentialities. By this I mean the directional trend which is evident in all organic and human life - the urge to expand, develop, mature - the tendency to express and activate all the capacities of the organism and the self. This tendency may become deeply buried under layer after layer of encrusted psychological defences; it may be hidden behind elaborate facades that deny its existence; it is my belief, however, based on my experience, that it exists in every individual, and awaits only the proper conditions to be released and expressed'75" (Boniwell, 2006, p. 40).
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
Activation-Synthesis Theory of Dreaming | Psychology …
"By its own definition, positive psychology is an objective, value–neutral science, and its proponents insist that all they are doing is describing what makes people happy rather than prescribing what people should be doing" (Yen, 2010, p. 74).
This neural network encompasses the limbic, paralimbic, and association cortices, with little or no role for the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, sensorimotor cortex, or primary visual cortex. Thus, the association cortices, paralimbic structures, and limbic structures may operate as a closed loop to generate the process of dreaming. On the one hand, this subsystem is cut off from the primary sensory cortices that provide information about the external world, and on the other from the prefrontal cortices that integrate incoming sensory information with memory and emotion in the process of decision-making. This model implies that an unconstrained and freewheeling conceptual system can operate when there is sufficient brain activation. At the same time, it is clear from the nature of dream content that the neural network for dreaming contains enough cognitive processing areas, such as the medial frontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, to produce coherent dramatizations that often reflect the dreamer's conceptions and concerns in waking life. (For a detailed account that brings together the early neuropsychological and brain imaging studies, go to my , which fits with more recent findings except on a few details.)
The Activation-Synthesis Theory of Dreams
Mongrain, M., & Anselmo-Matthews, T. (2012). Do Positive Psychology Exercises Work? A Replication of Seligman et al.. , (4), 382-389. doi:10.1002/jclp.21839 Objectives: The current work replicated a landmark study conducted by Seligman and colleagues (2005) that demonstrated the long-term benefits of positive psychology exercises (PPEs). In the original study, two exercises administered over 1 week ("Three Good Things" and "Using your Signature Strengths in a New Way") were found to have long-lasting effects on depression and happiness (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). Design: These exercises were tested here using the same methodology except for improvements to the control condition, and the addition of a second "positive placebo" to isolate the common factor of accessing positive, self-relevant constructs. This component control design was meant to assess the effect of expectancies for success (expectancy control), as well the cognitive access of positive information about the self (positive placebo). Results: Repeated measures analyses showed that the PPEs led to lasting increases in happiness, as did the positive placebo. The PPEs did not exceed the control condition in producing changes in depression over time. Conclusions: Brief, positive psychology interventions may boost happiness through a common factor involving the activation of positive, self-relevant information rather than through other specific mechanisms. Finally, the effects of PPEs on depression may be more modest than previously assumed.
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